Education, Census, Opioid Task Force Highlights In State Budget
iBerkshires.com reports the big news in the state's budget is $5.18 billion in Chapter 70 aid for schools, according to state Rep. Paul Mark.
Places like Pittsfield and Greenfield will be seeing massive increases in funding and all districts are seeing somewhat of a bump. This is start of what is expected to be the state's undertaking to significantly bolster education funding.
Smaller towns, however, are not seeing such a windfall. But, Mark said the state was able to raise some rural specific funds. The regional school transportation reimbursement is funded at $75.9 million, which raises the percentage of the cost the state is paying. The budget also raises the rural sparsity aid program, spearheaded last year by state Sen. Adam Hinds, by $1 million. Mark said this is additional support for schools with a certain population per distance. Last year, the Central Berkshire Regional School District was the biggest recipient of that fund.
Mark is the chairman of the Redistricting Committee. The U.S. Census count is the basis for not only drawing the lines for representation in government but also the basis for a significant number of funding allocations and grant programs. The budget includes $2.5 million for a grant program to help local Complete Count Committees and local organizations help get an accurate count.