Representative David Muradian (R-Grafton) joined with his colleagues in approving a $38.1 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2016 that holds the line on taxes, increases local aid to cities and towns and implements key transportation reforms at the MBTA. The budget passed the House of Representatives on a vote of 153-1.
The final budget includes a $4.5 billion allocation for Chapter 70 education aid, which represents an increase of $111.2 million, or 2.5 percent, over the current year. Unrestricted general government aid, which helps fund many other essential municipal services, will see an increase of $34 million, bringing the statewide total to $979.8 million, an increase of 3.6 percent over current levels.Upton will receive $19,248 in from Chapter 70 and $490,809 from UGGA. Also in this budget, Nipmuc Regional High School will receive $12,131,581 in Chapter 70 funding.
The budget calls for significant increases in reimbursements to cities and towns to help offset the costs associated with special education and regional school transportation services. The special education reimbursement, also known as the Circuit Breaker, is funded at $271.7 million, an increase of 7.2 percent, or $18.3 million, over this year, a level that fully funds the state’s share of special education aid for local school districts at 75 percent. Regional School Transportation will see a 14.6 percent increase, bringing the statewide total to $59 million, up $7.5 million from the current year.
The budget also appropriated $18,589,713 that level funds the Kindergarten Expansion Grant program which replaces the amount cut by Governor Baker in February. These grants will help to continue quality enhancements of towns and cities that already have existing full-day kindergarten, and will expand other cities’ and towns’ programs from half-day to full-day programs. Representative Muradian was a strong advocate for replacing these funds.
“I am pleased to have joined my colleagues in the House in this nearly unanimous vote for the FY16 budget,” stated Representative Muradian.