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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signs school funding legislation.

New finance formula will provide huge funding boost for Massachusetts schools

Nov. 26, 2019
Gov. Charlie Baker has signed into law a bill that eventually will allocate $1.5 billion a year more for public schools.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has signed an education bill that will give public schools in the state their largest influx of new money since the state established its school funding formula in 1993.

The Springfield Republican reports that Baker signed the bill at The English High School of Boston, the first public high school founded in the United States.

 "This legislation is about making sure that every kid in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, regardless of where they live, where they go to school, where they’re from, has the opportunity to get the education they need to be great,” Baker said

The funding overhaul will provide $1.5 billion more annually for the state’s public education system, once it is fully phased in over seven years. The districts slated to receive the most money are those with high concentrations of poor students and those with a large number of students learning English.

Lawmakers have been discussing an update to the school funding formula since a 2015 commission identified significant underfunding of schools related to employee health benefits, special education costs, English language learners and districts with a high concentration of poverty.

In addition to updating the funding formula, the bill lets the state for the first time reimburse districts for out-of-district transportation costs for special education students.

Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, who led the 2015 commission, said it will take “a handful of years” for schools to see measurable results. But, she said, “There is a real sense of urgency baked into this bill.”

Lawmakers tried to pass an education funding update in 2018, but were unable to agree on a final version. This time, senators and representatives on the Education Committee proposed a bill that had an unusual amount of consensus from teachers, parents, the business community and other groups.

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