HCC Holds Fund Our Future Event


An Article by Ann Matica

Speakers at Fund Our Future Event Push for More Funding for Public Education


March 31, 2019

     As people filled in to the Holyoke Community College library, students, faculty, and staff


had one thing on their minds: the future of funding for public education.

     During the Holyoke Community College Fund Our Future event that took place on


March 18, HCC President Christina Royal was joined by Sen. Jo Comerford,


Massachusetts Rep.
 Aaron Vega, and Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse to discuss the importance of

funding for public schools and colleges in Massachusetts.


     The HCC event was held just days before the higher education lobby day that took place


at the 
Massachusetts State House on March 21st. Both events promoted  the Cherish Act bill that


will, according to the Fund Our Future campaign, correct the $574 million dollar underfunding

of public colleges and universities. The Promise Act is another bill that aims to correct the states

outdated foundation budget that was created in 1993 that has resulted in the underfunding of

public schools K-12 by more than $1 billion dollars a year.


     HCC President Royal emphasized the impact The Cherish Act would have on colleges


and universities throughout the state and at HCC. “This issue is a community issue, not just a

higher ed issue,” said President Royal.While 
HCC has the lowest tuition rates of surrounding


community colleges, this has not completely protected students from debt or fee expenses.

     With Massachusetts students currently amassing $33.3 billion dollars of college debt, the


Cherish Act seeks to lower tuition and fees for students. The bill aims to restore funding to


public colleges and universities and to freeze tuition, relieving some of the college debt for


students at HCC and throughout the state.


     Senator Comerford said that The Cherish Act and The Promise Act should be looked at as

a new state investment that will help the future of education and the economy in Massachusetts.

“Greater investment in higher education is a win-win situation,” Comerford said. 

     While Massachusetts is reported to have some of the best education rates in the country,


It also has some of the largest education gaps due to lack of financial backing for public

education. “It’s great to be number one but who are we leaving behind,” State Rep. Vega said.


The aim of both bills is to help advance resources for the economically disadvantaged, and those


in need of special education, while simultaneously making a commitment to financial



     The bills will implement a tiered growth plan that will supply the appropriate amount of


funding over time to public schools and higher education institutions. “The trick is to do

something soon so that it gets implemented for the new school year,” Vega said.


     Holyoke resident and HCC student Fletcher Bullock, 19, attended the Fund

Our Future event and 
was optimistic about the future of both The Cherish Act and The Promise


Act. “I think it’s a 
brilliant idea that will be able to help the disadvantaged with a head start,” he


     The event was just one of many Fund Our Future gatherings that are kickstarting the


conversations between public education institutions and state politicians. While Stephanie

Marcotte, president of the MCCC union at HCC, facilitated a Q & A with the speakers,  


commitment forms were passed around that promoted ways in which the audience could


contribute to the Fund Our Future campaign. 



     A field representative for the MCCC, Catherine Santiago encouraged those affected by 


the underfunding to attend a day of action at the State House on May 16. “Students — but also

really anyone in the community — should get involved,” said Santiago. 

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