Sick Schools Need Infusion of Funds

June 17, 2019

On May 16, MassCOSH took part in the Fund our Future campaign rally at the Boston Common to demand that our elected officials fully fund our schools, allowing them to finally tackle deteriorating building conditions and the unhealthy environments they create. Al Vega, MassCOSH’s Director of Policies and Programs, helped organize the rally as part of MassCOSH’s Healthy Schools Initiative.
Currently, the state’s public school decades-old funding formula has failed to factor in inflation, resulting in a budget that is too low by more than one billion dollars. This budget shortfall has led schools to cut back on janitorial staff and school nurses, the very employees that work to address and mitigate negative health effects exacerbated by poor indoor air quality. These same officials have also been forced to defer critical maintenance on roofs, ventilation systems, and more. Due to lack of funds, thousands of students and staff are learning and working in buildings with poor air quality that worsens ever year.
Rally participants called for the passage of the Promise Act (Bill S.238) that would change the funding formula to more accurately reflect the districts with the greatest need and the fewest resources. MassCOSH played a critical role in supporting the rally, helping to coordinate the attendance of families with children in public schools, conducting community outreach, and translating materials to ensure non-English speaking participants felt included.
As an official policy priority, Vega and MassCOSH members will continue to advocate for the Promise Act, the latest endeavor in MassCOSH’s over two-decade-long fight to improve working and learning conditions in our schools.