School Funding


  • Massachusetts has yet to achieve the goal of ensuring sufficient public resources for public schools with funding to ensure high-quality education and equal access for all children.
  • The McDuffy Supreme Judicial Court decision outlined what makes an adequate education. More funding is needed to meet that mandate in all public schools in Massachusetts.
  • Recent policy initiatives, such as lifting caps on charter schools, move us farther away from, not closer to, this goal.
  • Lifting charter caps would divert scarce funds from traditional district schools, which serve the vast majority of public schoolchildren, and the vast majority of low-income, minority, special needs and English language learners.


  • More money alone is not a panacea, but money, when adequate for the task and used well, is clearly necessary and linked to higher achievement, especially for children who have barriers to learning and are underachieving.
  • District schools serving the vast majority of students with the greatest needs should be ensured adequate funding to address these needs, not required to compete with charter schools for basic funding.


  • An accurate determination must be made of the resources needed to ensure every child has a high-quality, well-rounded education, no matter what his or her ZIP code is. This determination should consider the body of evidence-based research on successful strategies for improving school outcomes among those who face barriers to learning. Such strategies include improving early education and care; reducing class sizes through grade three; providing full-day kindergarten; funding after school, remedial and other compensatory learning programs; and funding capital upgrades such as up-to-date libraries and science laboratories, and upgrading school technologies.
  • The legislature needs to significantly increase resources to underperforming school districts, and it needs to determine an equitable way to distribute adequate funds to all districts with funding levels below the foundation budget.

What Can You Do?

  • Join Citizens for Public Schools.
  • Contact your legislators: Link to Mass.Gov Legislators Info and urge them to support S. 278, “An Act to Fulfill the Promise of Education Reform: Adequate Funding for Student Success.” You can also urge them to support H. 638, “An Act Relative to Data Collection for Charter Schools,” and H. 506, “An Act Establishing a Charter School Working Group. Among other things, both of these bills would help shed light on the true costs to our public education system of charter schools and would help guide future efforts to ensure funding adequacy and equity.
  • Write letters to the editor sharing your perspective and experiences on public school funding and the impact of charter schools on district budgets.
  • Talk to your friends and neighbors about the need to resolve school funding inequities and shortfalls and urge them to join CPS.

Worth Reading

  • Ann O’Halloran delivers CPS testimony on adequate school funding bill.
  • An article by Richard Rothstein, “Equalizing Opportunity: Dramatic Differences in Children’s Home Life and Health Mean that Schools can’t Do it Alone” | Equalizing Opportunity [PDF for Download]
  • A press release from the Council for Fair School finance naming all the groups, including Citizens for Public Schools, supporting Hancock case. Link to Article on ACLUM