Local Legislators Praise Recently Overhauled Education Bill

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State Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford) joined Senators Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) and Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) in lauding the efforts of House and Senate leaders after the Student Opportunity Act was released by the Joint Committee on Education. The bill will make $1.5 billion in new investments in Massachusetts public education, through the Chapter 70 funding.

Driven by Chairs Alice Peisch, (D-Wellesley) and Jason Lewis (D-Winchester,) this bill would ensure public schools, regardless of the income level of the community would have the necessary resources needed to provide the most comprehensive education to all students.

“I applauded the tireless work of Chairs Peisch and Lewis,” said Gordon. “Their collaborative effort has resulted in a bill that will help our students succeed as 21st-century learners, giving them the tools to compete at the highest academic levels.”

Factoring in inflation, the bill could in time offer approximately $2.2 billion in funding to schools throughout the Commonwealth. The money used to fund this bill was sourced from additional state revenue and will be implemented over the course of seven years.

“This looks like a smart approach,” said State Senator Mike Barrett, D-Lexington, who represents Bedford. “The broad reaction from all corners so far has been positive. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to get it across the finish line.”

Bedford and Burlington Public Schools can expect to see benefits from the establishment of a special education reimbursement program. This would provide refunds to communities for eligible instructional and transportation costs.

In addition, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) is set to lift the cap on spending for building and renovations projects. An increase of lift of $150,000, this will give more projects the opportunity to make their way onto the MSBA’s funding list. Burlington has seen its application to address the high school’s HVAC system lose out in competition to other districts, which Bedford has moved forward on projects without tapping previously limited state funds.

“Every child – regardless of their socioeconomic status – should have access to a quality education that allows them to excel,” said Friedman, whose district includes Burlington. “This bill is a huge step in the right direction toward providing students in Burlington with the educational opportunity they deserve. I applaud my colleagues on the Education Committee for producing a landmark bill that benefits every child in our community and the Commonwealth.”

The impact of the bill also raises rates for guidance and psychological services designed to increase students’ access to mental health and social-emotional services.

To track the bill’s progress, visit https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S2348.


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