Report from MASC’s 75th annual meeting

MASC’s 75th annual meeting was held remotely on Saturday, November 7, convening at 1:00pm. A total of 143 delegates representing school districts across the state were registered and participated in the deliberations of the meeting.

The meeting was led by MASC President Deborah Davis (Northeast Metro Voc. Tech.). The Association’s Financial Report was presented by Secretary-Treasurer Stacey Rizzo (Revere). Immediate Past President Devin Sheehan (Holyoke) presided over the board elections in his role as Chair of the Nominating Committee. President-Elect Ellen Holmes (Ashburnham-Westminster), who chaired the Resolutions Committee, introduced the ten resolutions that were considered and voted on by the delegates.

Following is a summary of actions taken on the resolutions and on the voting of Life Members and the incoming Board of Directors.

Approved for Life Membership were: Joshua Amaral (New Bedford); Richard Bath (Brockton); Alfred “Fred” Fantini (Cambridge); Elaine Rabbitt (Dudley-Charlton); and Marc Terry (Ashland). Full bios of these new life appears are printed in the 2020 Delegate Manual.

Elected to the 2021 MASC Board of Directors were: as President-Elect, Andrea Wadsworth (Lee); as Vice President, Stacey Rizzo (Revere); as Secretary-Treasurer, Mildred Lefebvre (Holyoke). Ellen Holmes, who is the 2020 President-Elect, becomes President on January 1, 2021. Current President Deborah Davis becomes Immediate Past President at the same time.

The contested race for President-Elect was won by Andrea Wadsworth on a vote of 69-51.

Following are the actions taken on the ten proposed resolutions:

In the interest of expediting discussion and allowing more time for resolutions of a more controversial nature, a special procedural action was adopted that allowed delegates to vote on resolutions considered non-controversial as a group. Each resolution was presented and delegates identified those resolutions that they wished “held” for further discussion. Those resolutions not held, were voted and approved as a single slate.

The five resolutions that were voted and approved as a group are listed below. The full text of the resolutions is printed in the Delegate Manual and posted on the MASC website.
Resolution 2: State Funding for COVID
Resolution 3: Anti-racism Resolution
Resolution 6: Retention of Medicaid Revenue
Resolution 8: Membership of a School Committee Member on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Resolution 9: Equity for LGBTQ Students and Staff

The resolutions listed above were approved unanimously by the delegates.

Following are the actions taken on the remaining five resolutions that the delegates held for in-depth discussion.

Resolution 1: MCAS and High Stakes Testing
(submitted by the MASC Board of Directors)
BE IT RESOLVED that MASC rejects the calls for the students of 2022 who missed their tenth grade MCAS testing to be required to make it up in the 2020-2021 school year or ever. We demand those students be held harmless for not taking the MCAS and that their graduation requirements shall be determined by locally controlled voices of the School Committee and School Administration within the remaining graduation requirements of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Additionally, we reiterate our call for a moratorium on all high stakes testing for the 2020-2021 school year so all students can benefit from their time being focused on direct instruction and we urge the legislature to enact a moratorium on high stakes testing of three years.

A motion was made by the Beverly School Committee to table the resolution.
The motion to table failed on a vote of 21-102.

The resolution passed, as presented, on a vote of 112-9, with 2 abstentions.

Resolution 4: Lowering the Voting Age to 16 in Municipal Elections
(submitted by the MASC Board of Directors)
BE IT RESOLVED that the sponsors call upon the Massachusetts legislature to pass the EMPOWER Act and take other means necessary to allow cities and towns to establish a minimum voting age of sixteen years for all municipal elections.

The resolution passed, as presented, on a vote of 65-49, with 4 abstentions.

Resolution 5: Increased Federal Support and Stimulus Funding for Public K-12 Education
BE IT RESOLVED that MASC align with state superintendents of schools and urge the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation and state legislators to advocate for and approve additional education funding for our nation’s public schools through the enactment of progressive tax legislation.

An amendment was proposed by the Framingham School Committee to strike the words “through the enactment of progressive tax legislation” as they appear at the end of the paragraph beginning BE IT RESOLVED (above) and as the same language appears the at the end of the paragraph that precedes the BE IT RESOLVED paragraph in the full resolution.

The proposed amendment was approved on a vote of 72-28 with 10 abstentions.

The resolution as amended was approved on a vote of 117-1 with 1 abstention.

Resolution 7: Attempts by US Department of Education to Direct Public Funding to Private Schools
BE IT RESOLVED that MASC petition the Attorney General of Massachusetts to review and recommend to the Executive Office of Education and the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to review the formal language of such statutes that determine the distribution of federal funds to benefit economically disadvantaged students and, further that the Attorney General provide legal guidance to state agencies in Massachusetts to implement such formulas based on the actual language and legislative intent of the statute should that be in variance with any “advisory” issued by the United States Secretary of Education.

A motion to table was made by the Beverly School Committee.
The motion did not pass on a vote of 34-71.

The resolution passed as proposed on a vote of 108-6, with 1 abstention.

Resolution 10: Monitoring of Attendance of Students During the Pandemic
BE IT RESOLVED that MASC advocate for legislation and regulation that protect the rights of parents to withhold their children from school for reasons of their health status or health risk and, further
 That MASC advocate for regulations that hold districts accountable for the attendance of students provide appropriate exemptions for students who experience or require extended absences from school due to health-related issues or concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, further
 That MASC petition the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to waive all accountability requirements regarding attendance for the 2020-2021 school year, and
 That such regulations exempt districts from sanction status on the basis of attendance when such absences are related to a public health crisis, including COVID-19.

A motion was made to table the resolution.

The motion to table the resolution passed on a vote of 71-34.

Following concluding remarks from President Davis and incoming President Holmes, the assembly adjourned at 4:23pm.