My email to Tim Murray re: chapter 70 equity

I anticipate no response from the Lt. Governor on my email, but it certainly made me feel better writing it.

Email me at davidwhelanjr@gmail.com for the attachments that went with this email.

Lt. Governor Murray:

In anticipation of your address to the Suburban Coalition folks on Tuesday, I thought it might be helpful if you addressed the inequities in the chapter 70 program, particularly when comparing suburban communities. The list of state officials and elected officials that have agreed to the fact that the program is “broken” includes Governor Patrick, yourself, Jeff Wulfson, and dozens of legislators. So “broken” is the formula that the Commonwealth agreed to “fix” the formula in 2006. The so-called five year phase in (see Patrick’s FY 09 Budget Message) represents a promise broken and has truly added undue stress to communities on the list of the forgotten 58.

Working in the financial services business and serving on a suburban school committee in recent years has given me a front row seat to the economic mess that we as a Commonwealth have endured since fy 08. That being said, it never should have been policy to ignore equity issues regardless of economic realities. I cite the fy 11 per child ch 70 reimbursement to Wellesley ($1,465) vs. Swampscott ($1,179) as a prime example of unexplainable inequities. Note that Wellesley’s demographics include twice the per capita income and twice the property value of my community, Swampscott.

Kindly refrain from arguing that the economy is the problem, because as I said, equity and fairness should not be ignored regardless of economic circumstances. Also please refrain from the typical urban vs. suburban dialog which is often used to minimize and marginalize the argument or the one making the argument. Having been on the receiving end of the “you don’t understand the challenges facing urban communities” refrain is unfair to me and it is intellectually dishonest on the part of the person delivering the message. That delivered message often coming from Patrick administration officials.

My request is that in your Suburban Coalition address you explain to the attendees how you plan on addressing the inequities that lead to Deval Patrick’s numerous “broken” references as related to ch 70. I’d prefer to not ask the difficult questions raised in this email during your address to the Suburban Coalition so please take the time to address what I believe to be an issue of profound unfairness.

I’ve often asked the question of suburban ch 70 inequity as follows and have yet to get an answer:

“Why is it more important to properly fund the education of kids in Wellesley, Natick, and Sudbury vs. the education of similar kids in Swampscott, Saugus, and Wakefield?”

and

“Why is it more important to support the taxpayers in Wellesley, Natick, and Sudbury vs. the taxpayers in Swampscott, Saugus, and Wakefield?”

So far no response from the administration to what I believe is as much an equity issue as it is an issue of morality.

I look forward to your response. It’s time!

Oh yea, call anytime.

Note the following video is a representation of Deval Patrick’s opinion of the ch 70 program. Go to one minute and 20 secs to hear his “broken” reference.

About David Whelan