After years of state, school and town officials beating the drum for rural school aid, rural districts, including Mohawk, Frontier, Pioneer Valley, and the 19 member-town Franklin County Technical School District, could see $100 per student in rural school aid from the state.
Sen. Adam G. Hinds, D-Pittsfield, said Wednesday that the state Senate adopted his Fiscal Year 2019 amendment to establish Rural School Aid, adding $1.5 million in aid to rural schools.
“Rural schools face significant and unique fiscal challenges due to population decline, density and ability to pay,” said Hinds. “This proposal is a direct response to local and regional officials throughout my district, who confront those difficulties. If we do not do something to help these school districts financially, Massachusetts is at risk of providing unequal education opportunities for children who live in rural areas. That cannot be allowed to happen.”
The next step, according to Hinds’s office, is for the House and Senate to appoint a six-member committee to negotiate a final fiscal year budget for approval by both legislative branches.
When reached for comment, state Rep. Stephen Kulik said there is not a similar bill in the House of Representatives, but the Senate bill will be subject to negotiations in conference committee.
The plan, as adopted by the Senate this week, would enable school districts with fewer than 10 students per mile to receive an extra $100 per student in the budget year that begins in July. Hinds says 40 school districts would be eligible to receive this aid, including: Conway, the Tech School, Frontier Regional, Hawlemont, Mohawk Trail Regional School District, Pioneer Valley, Ralph C. Mahar, Rowe and others.