As I See It: Getting the best value for health care dollars

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Since the Education Reform Act of 1993, public school funding has been determined by the Commonwealth’s Foundation Budget, a formula intended to ensure that every school has adequate levels of funding from both state and local governments to ensure universal access to quality public education. In the two decades since its formation, the Foundation Budget formula has considered the number of students, the characteristics of the student body, the characteristics of the community, and the costs of education to establish minimum local and state contributions.

The formula, however, has not kept up with growth in certain costs, such as special needs requirements and staff and retiree health benefits. The result is that public school systems such as Worcester’s struggle to address legitimate and significant expenses.

By failing to adapt to changing conditions, the Foundation Budget formula has shortchanged Worcester by approximately $93 million annually according to the Worcester Public Schools. Acknowledging that the public schools need additional resources does not mean that every dollar currently going to the schools is used effectively, however.

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