Gazette Net | SCOTT MERZBACH
May 6, 2022
The Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee unanimously adopted a resolution supporting the Fair Share Amendment...
Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee supports Fair Share Amendment
AMHERST — A proposed constitutional amendment to apply a 4% tax on Massachusetts households earning more than $1 million annually, with the funds collected to be directed toward public education and transportation, is being endorsed by local school representatives.
The Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee, with members from Amherst, Pelham, Leverett and Shutesbury, on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution supporting the Fair Share Amendment, also sometimes referred to as the millionaires’ tax.
If adopted by state voters at the election on Nov. 8, the measure would impose the new tax. The rest of the state’s taxpayers would continue to pay at the 5% tax rate.
Amherst representative Peter Demling, who wrote the resolution, said he wants the committee to be on record as stating that schools, especially regional entities, don’t often get the resources they need.
“This November is going to be an opportunity for school committees, cities and towns, teachers and teachers unions to support and unite over a common cause,” Demling said.
The resolution states that students “deserve equal access to a high quality, well-rounded and well-staffed public education with a rich and varied academic curriculum, ample opportunity to explore the arts and athletics, and social-emotional resources to support their overall well-being” and that the four cents per $1 for money earned over $1 million “is fair, reasonable and long overdue.”
Demling said schools across the state are often not able to meet their budgets due to shortfall in state revenues and the Legislature not providing the promised funds. If this amendment is adopted, though, there will be well over $1 billion in extra revenues for the state, with that money to be directed to education or infrastructure, such as roads and bridges.
This could be most critical coming out of pandemic, Demling said, and follows the 2019 adoption of the Student Opportunity Act, though he said the focus of that was largely on low-income students, students of color and English learners.
The resolution also quotes Merrie Najimy, the president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, who calls the amendment a “once-in-a-lifetime chance to create a Commonwealth where the great potential of all of our students is matched by resources that provide every young person the opportunity to flourish.”
A similar endorsement of the Fair Share Amendment has been made by Leverett Town Meeting and the Leverett School Committee.