Number of School Committees Opposing Question 2 Tops 150;
Boston and Newton Scheduled to Vote Tonight
Grassroots Opposition Continues to Grow
BOSTON — More than 150 democratically elected Massachusetts school committees have voted to oppose Question 2, the ballot question that would allow expansion of privately run charter schools 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.
The Boston and Newton school committees are set to take separate votes on a resolution opposing the Question 2 this evening.
“I’m proud to join school committee members across the state in standing up against this irresponsible ballot question that funnels public money to privately-run charters with no local oversight or input from local communities.” said Valentino Capobianco, a member of the Winthrop School Committee. “Charters drain hundreds of millions of dollars from our schools, and Question 2 will cause irreparable damage to our public schools, which educate 96 percent of our kids.”
The 156 school committees, along with 17 city councils that have voted to oppose Question 2, represent more than 200 cities and towns, more than half the communities in Massachusetts.1 They are joined by a growing list of local and statewide organizations, including the Massachusetts PTA, the Massachusetts Municipal Association, the Massachusetts Elementary School Principals’ Association, the NAACP New England Area Conference, Progressive Massachusetts, and Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts in opposing Question 2.
Not a single school committee or city council has voted to support Question 2.
With the opening of every new charter school, funding is taken from the public schools in that school district. State data from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shows that statewide, 231 local school districts will lose a projected $451,338,729 to charter schools this year, even after state reimbursements.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 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.
“The corporate backers of Question 2 have made it clear that they want to completely remove local control and accountability from our school systems,” said Victor Machado, a member of the Somerset School Committee. “Massachusetts has some of the best public schools in the nation in part because of the active collaboration with community leaders, parents, and educators. Instead of investing in the privatization of our public schools, we should be dedicating this money to the local school districts the vast majority of our families depend on.”
A full list of the school committees and city councils that have voted to oppose Question 2 can be found here.
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.
1. Many Massachusetts cities and towns are represented by regional school committees that oversee schools in multiple communities.