Senator Eric P. Lesser announced a $2.5 million increase in funding for regional school transportation in the FY16 state budget, signed into law recently by Governor Baker. This funding increase will boost the reimbursement rate for regional school districts to 73 percent, including an additional $250,000 for Hampden-Wilbraham. In 2011, the reimbursement rate was 58 percent.
“School districts should not need to worry about how much they’ll be reimbursed by the state for school busing costs,” Lesser said. “This measure will provide much-needed relief, allowing districts to focus their resources inside the classroom, and I hope it will be a strong starting point for increases in future budgets.”
In 2014, the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District faced a significant budget shortfall when state aid for school transportation was abruptly cut.
This funding reverses those cuts and will mean significant relief for the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District, granting the ability to restore at least four full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching positions within the district’s fiscal year 2016 budget.
“As a regional school district, the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District is very appreciative of our legislative delegation’s efforts and advocacy to increase Regional Transportation funding,” said Hampden-Wilbraham School Superintendent Martin O’Shea.
“The Regional Transportation funding is critically important to larger rural and suburban school districts like the HWRSD. This increase will provide the HWRSD with the opportunity to restore needed programs and services to the children of the District.”
“This increase is critically important to our school district. Regional School Transportation funding has been a big concern, and this increase will go a long way to help the district. I’m glad to have supported this increase especially in this tight budget,” said Representative Angelo Puppolo (D-Springfield).
The Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District faces rising costs for busing students, crowding out resources previously dedicated to student learning. Senator Lesser has made relief for local school districts a top priority of his work in the State Senate.