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Discriminating Against Those Providing Educational, Custodial and other Human Services… – HB2430 & SB1228

An Act Prohibiting The Commonwealth From Discriminating Against Those Providing Educational, Custodial and other Human Services To
Those Of Need Attending Private Schools Or Living In Private Residential Schools

Introduction

The Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools (maaps) represents 86 private school organizations approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to enroll publicly funded students with special needs.  Our members provide highly specialized education and treatment programs to approximately 5,300 public students with special needs from Massachusetts.

Due to the restrictive tuition pricing policies of the Operational Services Division (OSD), 70% of our school programs operate at a deficit.  In FY ’11, our schools lost over $25.2 million dollars.  Since 1993, the excess cost of providing a public education has totaled over $277 million.  Our members offset this shortfall through private donors, fund raising, higher costs charged to private pay and out-of-state students.  Our members also bring over $189 million a year in out-of-state and private tuition payments into the Massachusetts economy.

Our members cannot pay staff salaries that can compete with those in public schools, nor do our staff have access to the state public school retirement system.  The average public school teacher salary in FY ‘11 was $70,340 compared to the average salary in our member schools of $44,635.  This is a difference of $25,705 and our teachers work a month longer. This disparity results in an average rate of teacher licensure in our schools of only 51% compared to 95% in public schools.  Our schools are only able to retain 65% of their teachers each year, compared to a retention rate of 86% in public schools.

Provisions of the Bill

The bill would provide access to the public school employee retirement system for C766 school employees and help our schools retain experienced teachers. Individual C766 school employees would have the option to join the state retirement system or remain in the social security retirement system.  maaps member schools would be responsible for paying the employer’s share, 2.6%, of the pension contributions.