March 25th 2015 Boston—Representative David K. Muradian, Jr. (R-Grafton) is proud to announce that he has signed onto two letters to House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Brian Dempsey, seeking to increase local aid in the budget for Fiscal Year 2016. Both letters were signed by a delegation of State Representatives who would like to see cuts made in the House 1 budget restored in the House Ways & Means budget.
In a letter dated March 17th, Rep. Muradian and his colleagues would seek to reinstate funding to the House budget line item that would reinstate the Kindergarten Expansion Grants. This action would fund the program to the same level as the original amount in FY2015. The program would assist cities and towns across the Commonwealth who already have existing full-day kindergarten as well as expand other communities from half-day to full-day programs. The grants are necessary for those communities who seek to fund full-day kindergarten programs. Through these grants, the percentage of children Commonwealth-wide who attend full-day kindergarten has risen from 29% to 88% between 1999 and 2014.
The other letter, dated March 25th, asks the Chairman to increase the minimum aid increment for the Chapter 70 education formula in the FY2016 Ways & Means budget. This increase would raise the minimum per pupil expense from the $20 per pupil minimum in House 1, which is a reduction from the FY2015 of $25 per pupil, to $50 per pupil or an additional increase of $18.12 million to the line item itself. This modest increase will certainly help school districts offset what is likely to be a challenging upcoming budget year.
“I was very excited to have the chance to sign my name to both of these letters as they show a commitment from my colleagues in the Legislature to increasing local aid in the state budget, which is my top priority through this budget season,” state Rep. Muradian. “Both of these proposals, if accepted, will greatly help the school systems in our district and in turn would free up local aid dollars to be allocated in various other capacities by our towns.”
Should these proposals be included in the House Ways & Means Budget, they would still need to be approved by the Senate and signed by the Governor. Once the House budget is released, an electronic version will be placed on the General Court’s website along with a message from the Speaker of the House and an explanation regarding how to find different items. That can be found at www.malegislature.gov.