The FY2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA) includes $4 million for Rural School Aid (line item 7061-9813). The Department identified districts eligible for Rural School Aid based on their student density (not more than 35 students per square mile) and their per capita income (less than $53,104 per capita according to 2018 data from the Department of Revenue). Based on these criteria, there are 67 school districts that are eligible to receive rural school aid in FY2022 .
Rural aid for eligible districts is prioritized based on their student density, with Priority 1 funding for districts that serve no more than 11 students per square mile, Priority 2 funding for districts that serve more than 11 and not more than 21 students per square mile, and Priority 3 funding for districts that serve more than 21 and not more than 35 students per square mile. The Department allocated $2 million of the available funding for Priority 1 districts, $1.25 million for Priority 2 districts, and $750,000 for Priority 3 districts. The rural aid that the districts in each priority group receive is based on a prorated share of their FY2022 Chapter 70 target aid.
Rural school aid can be used for a wide variety of purposes to support district operations, with priority given to efforts to increase regional collaboration, consolidation, or other strategies to improve long-term operational efficiency and effectiveness.
The Department will distribute this funding in a single payment in October. Once received, the funds should be deposited in a separate account so that they can be spent without further action on the part of the local appropriating authority by June 30, 2022. We will be asking districts to complete a brief survey to report on their planned uses of these funds toward the end of the calendar year. Districts will also be required to report these funds as a state grant expenditure on their fiscal year 2022 End of Year Reports.
Please direct all questions regarding Rural School Aid to Michelle Griffin or at 781-338-6515.
Last Updated: October 1, 2021
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370
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