Home Cultural State Poised to Begin Funding Student Opportunity Act; Increase Local Aid

State Poised to Begin Funding Student Opportunity Act; Increase Local Aid

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Last week Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael J. Rodrigues and House Ways and Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz announced their committees had reached a local aid agreement for the upcoming fiscal 22 budget that begins funding the Student Opportunity Act,
creates a fund to assist school districts hit by pandemic-related enrollment changes, and increases unrestricted local government aid to cities and towns.
The Student Opportunity Act, signed into law on November 26, 2019, is a $1.5 billion investment in the Commonwealth’s public education system. The plan announced this week puts the state on track to fully implement the SOA by fiscal 27.

The Ways and Means agreement:
 Funds Chapter 70 at its highest level ever at $5.503 billion, an increase of $219.6 million
over fiscal2021, which fully funds one-sixth implementation of SOA rates.
 Creates a $40 million enrollment reserve fund targeted to stabilize school districts adversely impacted by pandemic-related enrollment changes.
 Funds Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) at $1.16 billion, an increase of
$39.5 million over FY 2021, providing additional local aid support to our cities and
towns.
“It is exciting to see that, despite the pandemic, the Commonwealth is committed to moving
forward with funding the Student Opportunity Act, as well as increasing state aid to municipalities,” said State Sen. Ed Kennedy.

“The Student Opportunity Act will go a long way toward creating a more fair and equitable education funding formula and closing the achievement gap
that has long plagued districts with a large number of low-income and English language learner
students.”

In fiscal 22 the Lowell Public Schools will receive $178,553,488 in Chapter 70 funding, an increase
of $11.6 million over the current fiscal year’s allocation.

“The Student Opportunity Act is a significant step toward creating a more equitable funding
system for schools across the Commonwealth, particularly those in urban areas like Lowell that
have been historically under-resourced.,” said Lowell Superintendent of Schools Joel Boyd.
“This important increase in funding was only made possible through the continued advocacy of
community partners across our city and the ardent support of our legislative delegation – Senator
Kennedy, Representative Golden, Representative (Rady) Mom and Representative Howard. Thank you
to everyone who made their voices heard on behalf of our children and to the Legislature for
continuing to prioritize the needs of our students during this difficult economic time.”
How will these funding increases impact our local school districts and municipalities? Below is
the breakout of Chapter 70 funding, unrestricted local aid funding, as well as federal ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds) are on their way funding for communities in the First Middlesex District:
Fiscal 22 Chapter 70 allocations, which fund the first year of the Student Opportunity Act
break down like this for the school districts in the First Middlesex District:
Groton Dunstable
$10,987,643 (+ $67,590 over FY21)
Lowell
$178,553,488 (+ $11,599,005)
Tyngsboro
$7,457,854 (+ $48,780)
Westford
$17,281,815 (+ $137,580)
N. Middlesex Regional
$20,482,913 (+ $89,730)
Gr. Lowell Tech
$31,905,010 (+ $2,322,455)
Nashoba Valley Tech
$3,737,294 (+ $20,010)

Fiscal 22 Unrestricted State Government Aid to the municipalities in the First Middlesex District:

Dunstable
$270,317 (+ $9,141)
Groton
$851,347 (+28,790)

Lowell
$27,682,651 (+ $936,128)
Pepperell
$1,640,347 (+55,471)
Tyngsboro
$1,062,136 (+ $35,918)
Westford
$2,335,696 (+ $78,985)

The third wave of federal ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief
Funds) are on their way. Below are the figures estimated to be coming to each school
district in the First Middlesex District as well as the total amount of ESSR funds which
includes the first two allocations:
Lowell
ESSR III: $43,993,830
Total ESSR funds: $66,574,261
Pepperell
ESSR III: $1.133,148
Total ESSR: Same
Tyngsboro
ESSR III: $695,052
Total ESSR: $971,053
Westford
ESSR III: $651,136
Total ESSR: $932,647
Groton Dunstable
ESSR III : $344,178
Total ESSR : $537,268
N. Middlesex Regional
ESSR III: $2,172,921
Total ESSR: $3,394,559
Nashoba Valley Tech
ESSR III: $599,543
Total ESSR: $932,312

Gr. Lowell Tech
ESSR III: $5,006,741
Total ESSR: $7,823,322