On July 30, the Massachusetts House and Senate together with Governor Baker announced that despite the fiscal crisis facing the state budget, municipalities and school districts will not face cuts in local aid or Chapter 70 school funding in Fiscal Year 2021 (which started on July 1, 2020).
Unrestricted local aid will be funded at a level no less than FY20. Chapter 70 school aid will be funded at a level no less than last fiscal year for each school district, plus the impact of inflation and any enrollment changes.
“I’m very pleased that despite the severe economic recession brought about by the pandemic and the enormous fiscal challenges facing our state government, we will not be cutting local aid or Chapter 70 school funding for our communities,” said Senator Jason Lewis, who serves as the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. “Most municipalities and school districts have been bracing for state budget cuts so this should be very welcome news. It reflects the high priority that I and my colleagues place on our strong partnership with our cities, towns, and public schools.”
This local aid commitment for FY21 will give our communities more budgeting certainty, and represents the minimum level of state aid that they can expect for the current fiscal year. If sufficient federal coronavirus relief funds are made available to states by Congress or if economic conditions improve more quickly than expected, the state Legislature will work to increase local aid and Chapter 70 funding when it debates a full-year FY21 budget this fall.
Municipalities and school districts have also received almost $1 billion in federal and state assistance to address costs related to the pandemic response.