The Massachusetts Rural Schools Coalition hosted Rural Schools Advocacy Day to get students involved in their push for more education funding.
The group cheered the Baker Administration’s approval of $1.5 million in last year’s state budget, but they are hoping to increase that number in fiscal 2020.
“We have a starting point, we had a new line item last year that we were able to get in and now this year they’re coming, and you can hear all the students, they’re coming to say we need to grow that number and also include a rurality factor for our small towns and small schools in the overall education formula.,” Pittsfield State Senator, Adam Hinds said.
The rural school’s coalition is asking for $15 million, to help the 245 schools in rural districts.
“Education is what forms the hopes and dreams for kids, and by leveling the playing field and giving rural kids the same opportunities that are available in other parts of the Commonwealth it’ll change lives,” Superintendent of the Mowhawk Trail Regional Schol District, Michale Buoniconti said.
The group is also asking lawmakers to change the Chapter 70 school funding formula which hasn’t been adjusted in 26 years.
By adding a rural factor to Chapter 70 funding, the coalition said they could better address some of the unique challenges that facing schools in western Massachusetts.
Currently, 100,000 students attend schools in rural areas of Massachusetts, and more than half of those schools face a severe financial crisis.