As your constituent and someone who cares deeply about public education, I strongly urge you to support the executive budget proposal to complete the phase-in to fully fund the Foundation Aid formula and expense-based aids this year. I also ask that you reject the new set-aside for high-impact tutoring contained in the executive budget.
As we emerge from the pandemic, schools are being called on to provide a greater range of services and resources to meet the needs of the whole student — from expanded mental health services to addressing the social-emotional learning needs through curriculum and programming. The Legislature and the governor's commitment to supporting students during this trying time has made a real difference. The continued phase-in of Foundation Aid in the 2023-24 state budget will allow districts to close the decades-long gap between student needs and the resources available to meet them.
Students and the dedicated educators who serve them are still recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic while also grappling with student learning-loss, an educator shortage, disruptions to schools' ability to get supplies and four-decade-high inflation. To that end, any set-asides that dilute the impact of Foundation Aid to a school district, must be rejected. Students would be better served by a separate, non-competitive grant program for services such as this, for students in school districts that require them.
As the Foundation Aid formula is fully implemented, the work must begin to update it to reflect current data, student needs and economic costs. I fully support the State Education Department (SED) undertaking a process wherein it serves as a "hub" for updating the Foundation Aid formula to reflect what students need today. SED has requested $1 million for this initiative, which was not included as part of the executive budget.
Accordingly, I urge you to work with your conference and your leadership to support the executive budget proposals to provide $2.7 billion in Foundation Aid and to fully fund the expense-based aids. I also urge you to reject the set-aside funding within Foundation Aid for high impact tutoring. I further urge you to include $1 million for SED to undertake a process to update the Foundation Aid formula.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. I look forward to a reply to my e-mail.