• Funding the Future of Public Education in Holyoke
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By Pam Mastriano, The Republican

Article Credit: MassLive

Holyoke – State Senator Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, and State Representative Aaron Vega, D-Holyoke, the lead sponsors of bills to restore state funding for public K-12 and higher education across the state will speak at Holyoke Community College on Monday, March 18. They will be joined by Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, and HCC President Christina Royale at the forum which will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. in the college library.

Five years ago, the Higher Education Finance Commission found that the public colleges and universities are underfunded by $574 million a year. For Holyoke Community College, that amounts to about $10 million a year.

Comerford is sponsoring the Cherish Act, SD.740 which would restore state aid cuts to Massachusetts college and universities dating back more than a decade. The bill seeks to restore state funding of public higher education to no less than its fiscal 2001 per-student level, adjusted for inflation, and freeze tuition and fees for vie years.

Vega is the lead sponsor of the Promise Act, SD101, which seek to restore funding of K-12 schools to 2001 levels. A similar bill passed the state Senate last year, but failed in the house.

Mayor Morse will discuss the impact of the underfunding on Holyoke schools, and President Royal will outline how the state funding cuts have hurt students and programs at the community college.

The HCC Chapter of the Massachusetts Community College Council, the faculty and staff union for the state’s community colleges, is sponsoring the forum.