Lyons Renews Call For Target Share Funding

Representative Jim Lyons (R-Andover) calls for more equitable distribution of Chapter 70 education funding.


"Where's the fairness?" asked Representative Jim Lyons of Andover.

       Lyons was referring to the excessive funding that the Patrick Administration and Beacon Hill Democrats reserve for the City of Lawrence, even while its politicians and bureaucrats are investigated, indicted, prosecuted, and convicted. 

       Just this week two former top aides to Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua, including his ex-chief of staff, were indicted. In the recent past, former Lawrence School Superintendent Wilfredo LaBoy was convicted of fraud and larceny. According to news reports, law enforcement investigations into Lawrence City Hall practices are continuing. "The policy of the Patrick Administration seems to be one of rewarding a corrupt and incompetent city government with more and more state taxpayer funds," Lyons emphasized. "Otherwise, why would you want to pour good tax dollars after bad into a City Hall rife with malfeasance?

       "At the same time," the Andover Republican noted, "the Patrick Administration opposes our efforts to increase Local Aid for communities that have honest, effective, and efficient town governments. That's not fair. That's not equitable. It has to change." 

       Continuing his advocacy for increased local aid for the 18th Essex District, Representative Lyons renewed his call to fully fund Target Share of Chapter 70. He pointed to the yawning gap between the amounts Beacon Hill Democrats will spend on Lawrence, while they constantly try to chip away at Local Aid for well-run towns in the 18th Essex District.

       "In the last legislative session," Lyons said, "I proposed fully funding Target Share for education. The Patrick Administration fought against my proposal, which would have - for example - added another $2.75 million for Andover and three-quarters of a million dollars for North Andover.

       "With bipartisan support from our Republican Caucus and many Democrats," Lyons added, "we succeeded in adding some monies to the underfunded Target Share. I will continue my legislative fight for fairness in funding, until the state reaches full funding of Target Share.

      "It is jarring to note," he observed, "that our state taxpayers are obligated to pay $152 million dollars to the Lawrence School system. That's more than 90% of that city's school budget. Meanwhile, towns like Andover and North Andover receive only a little over 15% of their school funding from state sources.

       "The Patrick Administration is shortchanging school systems that work," Lyons continued. "That's why we need to fully fund Target Share of Chapter 70.

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MikeA September 20, 2012 at 01:49 PM
The money is being spent on education but are we getting our money's worth? Is education actually happening to the extent it should? I think the answer, for a variety of reasons, is no.
Bill Callahan September 20, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Why would Rep. Lyons say that the money is being "wasted" in Lawrence and should be sent to Andover and North Andover? Maybe the money is being wasted in Wellesley or Dover-Sherborn? I'll leave you to ponder the answer.
MikeA September 20, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Here's the answer - Compared to Andover and North Andover, the money IS being wasted.
Michael Quinlan September 20, 2012 at 04:37 PM
How many truckloads of cash do you think should be continued to be dumped into Lawrence? Even after decades of OPM (Other Peoples' Money) the Lawrence school administration was so inept and corrupt (Superintendent Laboy convicted) that the state took it over. Lawrence remains the worst school system in the state. The money is 'wasted'.
Bill Kelly September 20, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Yeah it is pretty dismal over in Lawrence, Won't list all the reasons why, but hopefully the state takeover will bring about drastic improvement, because like it or not we all have a stake. One thing that needs to be looked at is getting/making parents take more responsibility. How about locking up parents whose kids are chronically truant. from school. It has been done in other parts of the country One of the big differences ( not the only one) is the level of parent involvement in NA & Andover in their kids education as opposed to Lawrence. All is not lost in Lawrence - 50 % of the kids have passed the 10th grade MCAS exams. Of course having the other 50% fail is not acceptable with all the state resources poured in. So how do you get results, well it all can't be on the teachers and administrators. Somehow parents have to be held accountable too.


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