The Student Opportunity Act (SOA) is new legislation passed in November 2019 that updates the formula the state of Massachusetts uses to distribute state funds to local school districts to support public education. (This is often referred to as “Chapter 70” funding. This funding formula has been in place since 1993.) The new funding formula comes with an additional $11.5 billion in state education funding over the next seven years.
The main goal of the SOA is to help districts focus their work on closing gaps that exist across the state in opportunities and achievement for students, particularly for our student subgroups. The subgroups are defined by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to include students of color, English learners, students with disabilities, and students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
All school districts in the state are required to submit to the state by April 1, 2020 a plan for how they will use these funds to close opportunity and achievement gaps in their districts. The state only provided guidance on what was required in these plan in February.
We distributed a survey via-email to all Swampscott Public School families, staff, and School Committee members to provide an opportunity for community input regarding the research-based strategies that our school community felt were most important to utilize to close our opportunity and achievement gaps. We received 270 reponses, mostly from parents. Based on this community input, and the data analysis and thinking of our administrative team, we have developed a DRAFT SOA Plan for the state.
We are seeking broad community input to help us revise this Draft SOA Plan, which was presented at the School Committee Meeting on March 11.
As you read our draft plan you should know that our allocation under the new law is $310,000 for the 2020-2021 school year. We were asked to develop a three year plan, but provide a budget only for year 1 at this time.
Here are the links that will help you provide informed feedback on our Draft SOA Plan
Here is the link to the DRAFT SOA Plan feedback survey.
We ask that you share your input with us by TUESDAY, MARCH 17th. After that we will revise the plan as needed and present a final version for a vote by School Committee at their meeting on 3/25/20.