Upon leaving office as governor, Charlie Baker left some unfinished business. This is mandatory when leadership is transferred.
With regard to the education of migrant children, it is not that Baker did not try. telling legislators that the increase in the number of immigrants in the state is putting pressure on public school budgets, He filed a supplemental budget seeking $37 million To help with the cost of placing migrant children in schools.
It didn’t pass the Legislature, but the kids are still here, and that’s the point. Gov. Maura T. Haley is pledging full state support for the placement and education of these children.
It is a budget issue, a political issue and an education issue. It is also an ethical issue, as Massachusetts has taken a leadership role in welcoming and assisting migrant families – something other states have refrained from doing.
Haley hasn’t set a cost for this commitment, and she probably won’t yet. The new governor is committed to improving public education, not only for immigrants, but for funding the 2019 Student Opportunity Act, helping school districts with transportation costs, helping with special education, and fully funding the McKinney-Vento program. Resolving to help. Which supports homeless students.
All these needs are real and urgent. The Legislature, dominated by Democrats, is likely to support Healy’s expansive approach.
In some respects, it will be the most comprehensive bill to address the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the geographic, economic and cultural disparities that plagued our schools prior to 2020. This is not the first.
This will be the third budget cycle for the Student Opportunity Act, which closes the equity gap, with $1.5 billion over a seven-year schedule. But if Haley’s program pans out as he describes it, it will be the most comprehensive effort yet to simultaneously address the school’s diverse needs.
The next few weeks promise some important figures as the Budget for FY2024 takes shape. Massachusetts is in admirably good financial condition, but its resources are not a bottomless well.
How Haley and the Legislature deliver on promises of help to so many areas of need, and how and where the money will be distributed, will be a true test not only of their compassion and good intentions, but also of their acumen and financial acumen. ,