|For Immediate Release|
|Tuesday, October 21, 1997|
$15 Million in Special One-Time Awards Given to 96 Massachusetts School Districts
Malden - Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Robert V. Antonucci today announced that 96 school districts across the state have been awarded special one-time supplemental state aid to meet urgent school budget needs, totalling $15 million.
This is the third consecutive year that there are special one-time awards being given to school districts under the foundation reserve" program (sometimes referred to as the "pothole" program). This fund supplements state aid and is designed to assist communities which are facing unusual circumstances in meeting their educational spending responsibilities. These circumstances typically include districts which receive relatively little state aid for education, have a relatively high local tax effort to support schools, and have a particular problem which can directly be addressed by a modest, one-time award.
In FY 1996, the foundation reserve account was funded at a level of $4.5 million, most of which was earmarked by the legislature. In FY 1997, the total was $10.2 million, with more than three quarters earmarked by the legislature. For this year's program, in the FY 1998 budget, $15 million is provided with none of the amount earmarked by the legislature.
A total of 152 applications for foundation reserve funds was received by the Commissioner of Education this year, requesting $51 million. Of these, 96 were selected for full or partial funding. The upper limit for the award was capped at $500,000 to ensure the greatest number of recipient communities.
Special consideration was given to districts which, relative to the rest of the state, are experiencing unusual enrollment growth. Also, extra consideration was given to those districts where the special education costs this year will overrun the local budget which had been set and had been based on reasonable budget expectations.
"The recipient districts and I are very grateful to Governor Cellucci and the legislature for appropriating these funds. They serve an immediate need in the districts, and will support students and teachers," noted Dr. Antonucci.