The State Legislature has passed its Fiscal Year 2019 Closeout Supplemental Budget, and State Senator Adam Hinds, of Pittsfield, has sent along the full press release for US to share with YOU! See the full press release below...

Budget includes an additional $1 million in Rural School Aid funding:

BOSTON – State Senator Adam G. Hinds (D- Pittsfield) announces that last night, the Massachusetts State Legislature passed H.4246, a $541 million closeout supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2019. It appropriates an additional $1 million for Rural School Aid in Fiscal Year 2020, for a total of $3.5 million this fiscal year.

“I’m happy to see this bill make those investments in public education, regional school transportation, public transportation, among many other areas” said Senator Adam Hinds.

Hinds sponsored one amendment that was included in the final bill. The amendment appropriates $200,000 to support the relocation of Barton’s Crossing Homeless Shelter from its current location to Downtown Pittsfield. This move would bring this vulnerable population to a new safe, clean, and efficient facility that is proximate to support services, public transportation, employment opportunities, and retail.

“Barton’s Crossing is the largest homeless shelter in the Berkshires, and I’m glad we were able to secure the funding to ensure it is located closer to the services necessary to assist the most vulnerable members of our community” said Senator Adam Hinds.

 

Rural School Aid

H.4246 includes an additional $1 million in Rural School Aid to be spent in Fiscal Year 2020. This funding is in addition to the $2.5 million Senator Hinds secured in the Fiscal Year 2020 General Appropriations Act, bringing the total amount to $3.5 million for rural schools this year.

“I’m thankful for the Legislature’s commitment to our schools, providing this additional funding for Rural School Aid,” said Senator Adam Hinds. “It is my hope that, in providing this additional investment, we can expand this program and make meaningful investments in more school districts.”

The Rural School Aid grant program helps school districts with low population densities and lower-than-average incomes address fiscal challenges and take steps to improve efficiency. Administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Rural School Aid is a source of funding separate from Chapter 70 aid and is intended to supplement the FY20 operating budgets of eligible school districts.

In order to qualify for Rural School Aid, DESE must determine that a school district meets two requirements:

1.       The “rural factor” – student density per square mile of a school district; and

2.       Ability to pay – the average per capital income of a school district.

This funding will help capture more schools, in addition to those that are already recipients of Rural School Aid funding. Specifically, the additional funding will benefit “school districts serving not more than 21 students per square mile” and “school districts serving not more than 35 students per square mile”. The latter of these groups will be first-time recipients of this funding.

H.4246 will now be sent to the Governor for his consideration.

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