Scanlon touts funding for education in state budget

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North Attleborough High School

By Adam Bass-abass@northstarreporter.com

During the summer months, many go on vacation, bringing back souvenirs of their trip.

State Rep. Adam Scanlon, (D-North Attleborough) spent the season working on Beacon Hill–and he is returning home with funding for education programs.

The first-term legislator announced at a Town Council meeting on Aug. 22 that he secured local aid from the Fiscal Year 2023 budget bill, which was signed by Gov. Charlie Baker on July 28.

Scanlon said the state is distributing $21,051,671 through Chapter 70—a part of the Massachusetts General Laws that divert state funds to school districts based on their need and size. Scanlon said this is a $250,000 increase and will help to provide capital for the Student Opportunity Act, a law passed in 2019 which plans to distribute $1.5 billion to public schools over seven years.

We are making our commitment to fully fund the Student Opportunity Act,” said Scanlon to the councilors. “We are excited about this increase.”

Additionally, Scanlon announced North Attleborough’s charter school tuition reimbursements would be increased to $387,201. In Massachusetts, charter schools are paid for by school districts that divert their dollars for students’ tuition. Districts can receive reimbursements from the state to help fund the schools.

This will fund 100% of the Charter School Tuition clause for the first three years,” Scanlon explained. “This is a 40% increase to our reimbursement program.”

The representative made note that there were more children outside of the school district wanting to attend North Attleborough schools regardless of their background or budget.

Education was not the only focus of Scanlon’s remarks at the meeting.

Scanlon said he was able to allocate $50,000 for a new Big Red Bus, a modified school bus that was used by the town’s parks and recreation department, for sporting events, and by town councilors for tours. The service was retired five years ago after the bus retained wear from its 30 years of service. Scanlon also touted $25,000 in funding for the World War II MemorialPpool, an amenity popular during the summer.

Despite the end of the legislative session and other lawmakers enjoying their summer, Scanlon said he is not done.

He wants to continue to work on an economic development bill, which did not pass in the last session due to time constraints and language from an existing law that could provide $3 billion in tax relief if triggered this year.

The bill would contain permanent tax relief for individuals, namely senior citizens, who are a big priority for Scanlon.

Scanlon said not taking care of the existing law would be fiscally irresponsible and lawmakers need to come back as soon as possible to focus on passing the economic development bill.

We are still working on this bill,” he said. “We hope to do at least parts of it this year.”