To help inform voters on the issues of charter schools, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation released a report that explains public school funding and analyzes the impact of charter schools on the Commonwealth’s school districts concluding that charter school funding is proportionate to charter school attendance, and that no predictable pattern connects charter school attendance with spending on traditional public schools.
But a detailed new report by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation shows that the anti-charter argument just doesn’t pass muster. Summarizing its deep dive into public school funding, the foundation, widely regarded as an even-handed fiscal analyst, writes: “Examination of school funding trends in districts affected by charter school enrollments does not suggest that charter schools are over-funded, that students in district schools are suffering a loss of support, or that the per-student funding of districts is trending negatively. Rather, per-student funding has increased quite steadily across the state, and the district-charter balance has been stable.”
"Theoretically, with low interest rates, sure it's a good time to borrow in a vacuum," Andrew Bagley, vice president for policy and research at MTF, told the News Service. "But we're up against the debt limit, we have an operating budget from which we just had to carve out $650 million in FY16, there are concerns about whether revenues will show up and we have debt service costs that go up every year." At $2.64 billion, the fiscal 2017 debt service allocation is up $640 million -- or 30 percent -- over fiscal 2008, according to MTF. "It's a hard time to argue that we really should be borrowing more, even though we sure do have enormous capital needs," Bagley said.
A month into fiscal 2017, some economists are keeping an eye out for signs of a funding crisis like the one that hit Massachusetts this past spring. “We will monitor to see if some sort of trend is developing,” said Andy Bagley, vice president of policy and research for the nonprofit Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
The bill now sits in the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, which continues to hear testimony from scores of witnesses on all sides of the issue, from National Grid to Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and dozens of renewable energy proponents