01 / 07 / 2019
  - 11:16:19 AM
Gov. Charlie Baker and the Democrats who run the Legislature Plan To Spend Much Of The Upcoming Session Trying To Find Common Ground

By MyFM’s Rick Michaels - Despite many accomplishments last session and the vaunted era of bipartisan cooperation on Beacon Hill, Gov. Charlie Baker and the Democrats who run the Legislature plan to spend much of the upcoming session trying to find common ground on major areas where they were unable to find common ground last session, including housing production, education funding and health care funding. But the budget comes first, Governor Baker on Jan. 23 will file his annual state budget to kick off fiscal 2020 deliberations that will run through June, at least. Negotiations over major changes in public education funding broke down last summer among Democrats, and Baker in his inaugural address signaled that he's ready to put that issue on the early session agenda.  The governor said he would feature updates to the K-12 education funding formula in his annual budget. A coalition that supports new revenues to significantly boost education spending is clamoring for action on the issue early this year. If that happens, then significant new investments could show up in the public schools in time for the 2019-2020 academic year. A big question is whether Beacon Hill will just adopt a funding schedule to cover previously identified unfunded special education and health insurance costs or whether they will go beyond that benchmark and deliver even more funding in an attempt to shrink gaps in the quality of education from community to community. Another important housekeeping question: will education funding and formula changes be incorporated into the annual budget, which has a July 1 deadline, or will the Legislature decide to tackle this major issue in standalone legislation.

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