Report: Health Care Costs Squeezing Education

By Sarah Birnbaum

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Dec. 9, 2010

BOSTON — A new report says hundreds of millions of dollars the state pegged for improvements to classroom education have gone instead  to health-care costs for school employees.

The report from the Massachusetts Business Alliance shows that the cost of health insurance for teachers and school employees grew by $1 billion between 2000 and 2007, forcing schools to cut books, teachers and commitments to poor communities.  

Ed Moscowitch, who wrote the report, says that spending on textbooks fell by over than 50 percent and spending for teacher training fell by almost 25 percent.

“The spending on the materials that you need to improve education has fallen by more than half," Moscowitch said. "It should be obvious that you can’t improve a school if you’re using 30 year old textbooks and you don’t have any money to train teachers.”

Michael Widmer, the president of the nonpartisan Massahusetts Taxpayers Foundation, calls the new study very powerful.

“What it shows, without any question,  is that the dramatic increases in health care costs for cities and town throughout this state are compromising our public education system,” Widmer said.

The report concludes that health care is now the number one education issue.

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