Petition to Reform Foundation Budget and Return $1,077,100 to Chelsea Low-Income Students in State Funds

Petition Background and Summary 

The Chelsea Public Schools are facing budget crisis for the next school year, with an additional $2.9 million needed to provide an equitable education for our students in September 2018. The Superintendent and school committee are discussing cuts that will drastically impact our city's diverse students. Following the leadership of our youth, the Chelsea Collaborative is mobilizing in Chelsea to return the $1,077,100 back to the education of low-income students and to reform the Foundation Formula created in 1993 that determines funding for Massachusetts schools.   
Currently, our students are not receiving adequate services to succeed. With additional cuts - the situation will reach a crisis level. 
  • Chelsea's dropout rate (6%) is three times the state average
  • English learners are leaving school at the alarming rate of nearly 12%. 
  • Chelsea students also have high rates of past trauma, which - if left unaddressed - leads to disengagement in school and other opportunities, risky behaviors, and lifelong hardship. 
  • The shift from a low income (LI) to economically disadvantaged (ED) definition of poor students reduced the 2016 (FY17) and 2017 (FY18) counts of low income students due to two key reasons: (1) The state changed how districts could identify lower income students, and (2) The state essentially lowered the threshold for lower income students from 185% of the federal poverty level to 133%.   
In Chelsea, we went from 5,833 low income students in 2015 (FY16) to 4,008 in 2016 (FY17), a loss of 1,825 students of poverty and $2,349,740 in Foundation Budget. 
Chelsea had an increase of 799 students in FY19, the Governor’s budget shows the per pupil rate went from $4,319.47 for each Economically Disadvantaged student last year to $4,104.05 this year: a loss of $215.42 per student or $1,077,100 in Chelsea’s FY19 budget. 

Action Petitioned For

We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who urge our leaders to act now and reforms the Foundation Budget - the formula that determines funding for Massachusetts schools. The Foundation Budget, or Chapter 70, has chronically underfunded our schools for years. It's time for a new formula. We support Bill S. 223 to modernize the Foundation Formula for 21st century education. The bill would positively impact districts like Chelsea dramatically, with changes to funding formulas supporting English learners, low-income students, and students with disabilities. Furthermore we ask that the state returns the $215.42 taken away from each Economically Disadvantaged student, to ensure equitable education for all students. 

Please visit the Chelsea Collaborative or one of our upcoming events to sign the petition. 

Other Ways to Get Involved 

  • Call your representatives and ask them to support Bill S. 223, reform the Foundation Budget, and restore the Economically Disadvantaged per pupil rate. 
  • Attend upcoming educational sessions, hosted in partnership with the Chelsea Public Schools

Tuesday, March 27, 5:30-7:30pm

Tuesday, April 3, 5:30-7:30pm

Chelsea Collaborative, 318 Broadway, Chelsea, MA 02150