MASC President Dorothy Presser, a member of the Lynnfield School Committee and President of the Suburban Coalition, presents the Massachusetts Association of School Committees' highest legislative tribute, its annual Legislator of the Year award to Senator Katherine Clark of Melrose.
In presenting the award, Presser noted “Senator Clark has served on the Education Committee for the past three years, two of which as a state representative and one as Senate Vice Chair of the Committee. During her tenure she has been intimately involved with crafting the most substantial education reform legislation since the passage of the Education Reform Act of 1993, the so called Achievement Gap bill, which was enacted in January 2010. This law provided much needed increased state oversight of charter schools and ensured that the charter school student body would more accurately reflect the general population of students served by school districts from which they draw students. The Achievement Gap legislation also addressed the need to bring chronically underperforming schools to a greater level of competency by providing state resources and the appointment of a state appointed receiver. She has advocated for fully funding Chapter 70, general aid to education, and has particularly sought funding to meet target aid to address funding shortfalls in school districts that receive minimum Chapter 70 funding.
Senator Clark has also filed legislation on behalf of MASC to require the approval of local municipalities in order for new charter schools to access Chapter 70 or local funds. During her tenure in the legislature and informed by her service on the Melrose School Committee, she has consistently espoused legislation that strengthens public schools and the vital services that they provide to students. The school children of Melrose, her senatorial district and throughout the Commonwealth are fortunate to have such an articulate advocate. It is a pleasure for the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) to present Senator Clark with its Legislator of the Year Award for 2011 as unanimously voted by the MASC Board of Directors."