State Rep. 17th Essex District: Question 5 -- Education Funding Crisis
The candidates discuss the threat of Tewksbury losing millions in education funding due to decreased enrollment.
As a way to inform our readers about the candidates, Patch asked the candidates for State Representative in the 17th Essex District five questions that focused on a vaiety of topics important to the voters of Tewksbury.
Here is Question 5:
Tewksbury has been "held harmless" by the state, relative to education funding, despite dwindling student population. Should that status end, Tewksbury stands to lose more than $2 million in funding, a cut that would be catastrophic to the school system. If elected, what, if anything, will you be able to do to prevent this looming fiscal crisis?
Patricia Commane, Democrat
Education is a vital issue; the students of today are tomorrow's entrepreneurs, small business owners, and community leaders. The possibility of Tewksbury losing almost $2 million in funding is unacceptable and would be disastrous for our school system. I would work with the Tewksbury school district, Rep. Miceli and others on Beacon Hill to avoid Tewksbury losing its "held harmless" status. I oppose any further cuts to local aid because such cuts force our communities to choose between cuts in vital core services like K-12 education, healthcare and public safety or raising our already out of control property and business taxes.
Paul Adams, Republican
As your state representative, I will continue to build coalitions and advocate for level-funding of education and local aid. I co-authored a State Ballot Question in 2008 that returned lottery revenues back to cities and towns as local aid, which was overwhelmingly supported by the people. My commitment to local aid reflects one of my core beliefs in why government exists in the first place – to fund local services that people cannot do for themselves, such as education and safety. As a member of the minority party in the legislature, I will have immediate leadership roles on important committees, bringing your voice to the State House.
I also believe the state should continue to fulfill its promise and fund 17.5% of each school district's foundational budget. 58 communities have already been shortchanged through this formula, and I would fight to ensure Tewksbury does not enter that list.
Unfortunately, our current governor and one-party legislature have purposefully avoided cost-saving reforms to state government the last 2 ½ years. The Democrats claim a need to raise taxes and fees to save education funding and local services, but they cut it with impunity anyway.