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Agreement reached to boost fiscal '21 local aid, education funding

Cindy Friedman

UPDATED: The Legislature and Baker administration have agreed to an unrestricted local aid and Chapter 70 funding commitment that provides a baseline amount for fiscal 2021. This commitment will provide critical support for municipalities and school districts as they finalize their budgets.

Under the agreement, the Town of Arlington will receive $8,056,055 in local aid and $14,566,028 in Chapter 70 education funding. The town is additionally eligible for federal relief funding of $1,522,470.

Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine told YourArlington: "I commend Arlington's legislative delegation and the Legislature as a whole for putting such a high priority on municipal government funding in the midst of the pandemic and corresponding economic crisis.

"We have been and will remain on the front lines of responding to the pandemic and these funding levels will ensure that we can sustain our level of effort and response for the remainder of FY 2021. The local government aid committed to by the legislature exceeds our estimates from earlier this year and leaves the Town on stable budget footing as we enter the fall."

The agreement provides for funding of unrestricted general government aid at no less than the amount provided in FY20. Cities and towns will also see an inflation and enrollment increase for Chapter 70 education funding. Additionally, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will distribute emergency resources appropriated by the federal government to help each school district meet the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Announcing the news were Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), Reps. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) and Dave Rogers (D-Cambridge) in a Tuesday, Aug. 4, release.

“I’m pleased that the Senate, House and the administration have come to an agreement to provide much-need resources for our schools during this difficult time,” Friedman said. “Our students and teachers have faced unprecedented challenges since the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, and this crucial funding will ensure that we can continue to provide a quality education to our students despite the profound adversity they have experienced this year.”

Garballey said in the release: "This is an essential agreement for our schools and communities across the Commonwealth. I was proud to work on and help pass the Student Opportunity Act. The state must continue to invest in education and during a pandemic this commitment is an important step that will help the Town of Arlington."

Rogers said: “Even in this challenging budget environment, the Legislature is providing stable state funding for our schools and other local aid. By providing steady funding for this critical local aid, we give element of near term predictability in an uncertain time. Our parents, students, teachers, school administrators and other staff have so much to manage right now. I am pleased that this is one less thing for them to worry about.

This news announcement was published Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. Kristina Gaffny, the writer, works for Sen. Friedman. Comment from the manager was added by Bob Sprague.

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