March 22, 2019Updated Mar 22, 2019 4:54 PM

Bob Salsberg, The Associated Press

State officials and legislative leaders sounded an optimistic tone Friday that a long-sought overhaul of the education funding formula to help Massachusetts’ neediest children was close on the horizon. Yet there was still no immediate indication that a consensus, which has eluded the political establishment for years, was closer to realization.

Mayors, educators, parents and students jammed a Statehouse auditorium for a public hearing on education spending proposals. Several New England Patriots players brought star power to the daylong event, urging the Legislature’s Education Committee to direct more money to vital school programs.

A 2015 report from a

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