Our big push to help the budget for the 2018-2019 school year is to get the state to fund 100% of our regional transportation costs as recommended in the Auditor’s Report on Regional School District Budgets. This would help the schools and towns immensely and be the beginning of re-building. All of the selectmen and town administrators are currently working on a letter-writing campaign asking for this same thing. We hope that as a united Wachusett community, we can get the state to listen to us!!!
To get districts to regionalize, the state offered some incentives. One of those incentives was that they would pay 100% of their transportation costs. The law states “The regional school district shall be subject to all laws pertaining to school transportation; and when the agreement provides for the furnishing of transportation by the regional school district, the regional school district shall be obliged to provide transportation for all school children in grades kindergarten through twelve and the commonwealth shall reimburse such district to the full extent of the amounts expended for such transportation, subject to appropriation” (Chapter 71; section 16C)
The state has NEVER lived up to this promise. It has cost our towns $12 million over the last 9 years. Last year, they paid only 73%. Our towns had to pay the rest – around $1,000,000!
One phrase – “subject to appropriation“. It is not unlawful for the state to not reimburse us fully because of this simple phrase. It means they need the money somewhere else and they have the right to take it away.
We, together, let the state know that we will no longer stand for this. Our school district is in duress and will continue to be as long as we have to struggle for every penny. This money would help our district and 5 towns immensely. Auditor Bump’s report states this exact thing. It is the 1st recommendation on how to help regional school district funding.
There are certain people in the state who are crucial to the education budget process. They are the governor, the lieutenant governor, the chairs of House and Senate Ways and Means, and the Chairs of Education from the House and Senate. We are focusing our campaign on these 6 people for now.
What to do?
Go to the Take Action tab and choose which action you’d like to take. Spread the word to family, friends, neighbors. Anyone who is willing to take the time to make a phone call, write a letter, send an email, or sign our petition.