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Sen. Robert Antonioni (D Leominster), the Senate chair of the state's Joint Committee on Education, and Sen. Stephen Brewer (D Barre) held the listening session.

every minute I want to spend on students. That's my goal," said Kate McLaughlin, a third grade teacher in Lowell.

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Penny Maliska, the vice chair of Winchendon's School Committee, said 28 percent of its budget is spent on 1.5 percent of their students.

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"Tewksbury gets almost double what Chelmsford gets in state aid," said Chelmsford resident Eric Andrus.

Several representatives from Chelmsford were present to speak about what they said was a discrepancy between the amount of state funding they received, and the amount towns of comparable wealth get.

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Other talk centered on special education spending.

TOWNSEND The Acton Boxboro school district has the second largest class sizes in the state, according to Acton School Committee Chair Marie Altieri.

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"We have high school classes with as many as 50 students," she said.

"The time is now to reform Chapter 70, and this is an opportunity we should not squander," Brewer said.

"We spent 33 percent of our transportation budget on 3 percent of our students," said Lunenburg School Committee Member Milree Keeling.

Residents cited a multi million dollar prospective budget deficit for this fiscal year as an example of the need to change how the state doles out its education money.

"We are at a point where there is nothing left to cut without compromising the education of our students," he said.

She said mandates requiring excessive paperwork from teachers take away from the time they spend in the classroom.

A significant contributor to those kinds of numbers is transportation, according to several people who spoke.

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It was the fourth of approximately 11 hearings Antonioni and House chair Rep. Patricia Haddad (D Somerset), who was not present Wednesday, will be holding.

Antonioni and Brewer tried to alleviate concerns by looking toward future legislation, and urged Prada Handbags Saffiano those in attendance to call their representatives and Gov. Mitt Romney's office.

Michael Niles, Winchendon's School Committee chairman said that budget situations are just as dire in his town.

´╗┐Residents air school concerns

Donna DiNinno, of the Leominster School Committee, said in her town, $1.6 million, or more than half of their $3.1 million transportation budget is spent on special education transportation.

"The state cannot wait another minute to reform Chapter 70," said Chelmsford resident Laura McLaughlin.

available to fund the mandates, please relieve us of the mandate," said Ashburnham Westminster Regional School Committee member David Christianson.

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Altieri was one of about 100 people from Massachusetts school districts who came to North Middlesex Regional High School Wednesday to speak to state senators about problems with public schools.

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Many comments Wednesday centered around Chapter 70 funding, the formula by which the state distributes education money to school districts.

the case for that as defensible," she said.

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Many who spoke Wednesday complained about state mandates and the financial burden such measures put on school districts. State mandates run the gamut from curriculum requirements to special education services.

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Their concerns were echoed by the senators.

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