Letter to the Editor

QUESTION 2

Dear Editor:

The Retired Educators Association of Massachusetts, the oldest organization in the state for retired educators, today announced its opposition to Question 2, the ballot question that would allow unlimited charter school expansion anywhere in the state, take millions of dollars away from successful local district public schools, and cause the elimination of music and art programs, increased class sizes, and other damaging cuts in the schools that most families choose.

“As retired teachers, classroom aides, and other educators, many of us have seen firsthand the direct impact of charter school expansion on our public school classrooms,” said Marilyn Frank, President of the Retired Educators Association of Massachusetts. “Every dollar lost to charter schools is a dollar cut from our school budgets, and that means larger class sizes, the elimination of arts, music, foreign language, and other enrichment programs, and other cuts that hurt our students. Our students can’t afford to lose any more to charter schools.”

The Retired Educators Association of Massachusetts joins a growing list of organizations who oppose Question 2, including the Massachusetts PTA, the Massachusetts Elementary School Principals’ Association, the Massachusetts Municipal Association, the NAACP New England Area Conference, Progressive Massachusetts, Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts, and city councils, school committees, and boards of selectmen representing close to 200 communities across the state.

“Dark money groups are attempting to mislead Massachusetts voters about the effect of charter schools, but Massachusetts voters trust local educators, not out-of-state billionaires, to know what’s best for our students,” said Juan Cofield, president of the New England Area Conference of the NAACP and chair of the Campaign to Save Our Public Schools. “We’re honored to have the support of the Retired Educators Association of Massachusetts in our campaign to defeat Question 2 and protect our public schools.”

Charter schools are privately run schools that operate with public taxpayer funding. Every time a new charter school opens, it takes funding away from the public schools in that school district. This year, according to state data, 231 local school districts will lose a projected $451,338,729 to charter schools, even after state reimbursements.1 That’s why more than 130 school committees across the state have voted to oppose Question 2.2

A statewide commission recently reported that public schools in Massachusetts are already underfunded by more than $1 billion, even before Question 2.3 If passed, Question 2 would allow the state to approve 12 new charters schools a year, every year, forever, with no limit on how much money a single school district could lose. This would nearly triple the number of charter schools in just 10 years and take away an additional $1 billion each year from our local public schools. After 20 years, local public school districts would be losing nearly $4 billion a year to charter schools.4

Local communities and their school committees have no say in the approval or operation of charter schools. The state approves charter schools even when the communities where they will be located are opposed to them. This has happened in Brockton, Gloucester and many other communities.

Save Our Public Schools is a grassroots organization of Massachusetts families, parents, educators and students. We are committed to ensuring equal educational opportunity for every child; less testing and more learning; stopping the state from opening additional charter schools that will drain millions more from public education; increasing funding to provide high-quality public schools for all children; and protecting local control over schools. Our public schools cannot afford to lose vital funding while we are seeing programs cut and activities reduced. Learn more and sign up for updates at saveourpublicschoolsma.com.

Committee to Save Our Public School

 

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