On July 26, 2018, Governor Baker signed into law the FY19 General Appropriations Act (GAA), which includes $1.5 million dollars for Rural School Aid (7061-9813).
Pursuant to the criteria defined in the budget, the DESE identified the districts eligible for Rural School Aid based on their student density and their per capita income (less than $38,069 per capita based on 2016 Census estimates). After determining income eligibility, we divided the districts into two funding groups: Priority 1 (less than 11 students per square mile) and Priority 2 (greater than 11 and less than 21 students per square mile).
DESE set aside $1 million of the available funding for Priority 1 districts and $500,000 for Priority 2 districts. For both groups, we calculated the target aid amounts for each district based on their FY19 Chapter 70 aid, summed these amounts, and gave the districts in each priority group a prorated share of their target aid totals.
Rural School Aid is being distributed in two equal payments. The first payment was issued at the end of October and the second payment will be made at the end of April. These funds should be deposited in a separate account (like a grant) so that it can be spent without further action on the part of the local appropriating authority.
The GAA requires that all districts receiving funds under this line item also submit a plan to the Department outlining the steps that the district will take to increase regional collaboration, consolidation, or other efficiencies over the next three fiscal years, 2019 to 2021. While districts can use their Rural School Aid to support these activities, they are not required to do so. We are developing a framework for these plans and will provide districts with additional information about next steps in the near future.
Please direct all questions to Ruth Hersh at 781-338-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Updated: November 9, 2018
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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