Time for a reset on education funding

Senate President Karen Spilka has opted for new Senate leadership on the Legislature’s joint Education Committee — and with a new Senate chair comes an opportunity for a more pragmatic approach on the complicated educational task ahead for policymakers this year.

State Senator Jason Lewis, the new Senate chairman, has a reputation as a thoughtful lawmaker willing to roll up his sleeves and delve deep into the details in search of well-tailored policy solutions. Such an approach should be helpful as the Legislature tries again to rework the formula by which the state distributes education dollars to cities and towns.

The previous Senate chair, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, herself a former public school teacher, worked passionately to elevate the issue of more equitable funding and has been a champion for urban kids. But she was more ardent advocate than pragmatic dealmaker.

Last year’s effort broke down in acrimony at the 11th hour. This year’s effort has started unevenly. Everyone agrees that more money is needed, especially for poor urban communities. But that’s about where the agreement stops.

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