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Education overrides
approved by the MA Legislature

The following fact sheet is from the Education Committee on some of the more significant education overrides approved by the Legislature during the past few weeks. Action by the House and Senate restored approximately $35 million in education funding from kindergarten through higher education for much needed programs.

K-12 OVERRIDES: LINE ITEMS

SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDING OF COSTLY PLACEMENTS - The Legislature restored $6.5 million to fund the special education circuit breaker. This line item will fund expensive special education placements, regardless of where they are located. This line item, 7061-0012, has been increased by $50 million dollars over last yearšs funding of the now defunct 50/50 cost share for special education private school placements.

EMERGENCY RESERVE ACCOUNT …-The Legislature restored $7 million to line item 7061-0011 to be used for unanticipated or extraordinary education costs of local school districts. An override of the Governoršs veto allows for emergency relief for school districts to deal with emergency situations during this particularly difficult fiscal year.

FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN GRANTS - The House and the Senate restored $10 million that the Governor had vetoed in line item 7030-1002 to make available a total of $23 million in grant funding for existing full day kindergarten programs in Massachusetts. - In FY03 119 districts and charter schools received funding from this account, impacting 1624 classrooms and 32,480 kindergarten students. Taking into consideration the FY03 12% 9C reduction, allocations per classroom ranged from $10,560 to $15,840, at most, 21% of the actual cost of implementing full-day kindergarten. School districts have estimated the cost per full-day kindergarten to be around $76,000.

EARLY LITERACY PROGRAMS - The House and the Senate restored $2,100,004 that the Governor had vetoed to make available a total of $3,892,994 in grant funding for early literacy programs in 7030-1003. - This line item supports reading and writing proficiency of students in grades K-5 by improving instructional practices, assessing and evaluating studentsš literacy skills, establishing a school-based Literacy Leadership Team, and by hiring a school-based Literacy Coordinator.

READING RECOVERY - The House and the Senate restored the entire $1,910,788 of line item 7030-1005, which the Governor had vetoed for short-term early literacy intervention for the lowest achieving first grade children. This intervention helps children learn how to work independently in the classroom and meet grade level expectations.

SCHOOL BREAKFAST - The House and the Senate restored line item 7053-1927 for a total of $2,011,060 for elementary school breakfast grants. This override will enable schools to capitalize more effectively on federal reimbursement subsidies. - When school wide breakfast programs are implemented, the number of federally reimbursable children who participate expands, thereby increasing the amount of federal dollars on which the state can capitalize to cover overhead costs. In addition, studies have shown that students who have improved nutritional habits perform better academically.

AUDIO-TAPED BOOKS - The House and the Senate restored $400,000 for audio-taped textbooks for special needs students who are blind or who have visual impairments or other disabilities which limit their use of standard print and for an outreach program for special education teachers, students and parents regarding these services.

K-12 OVERRIDES: OUTSIDE SECTIONS

BILINGUAL EDUCATION ­ The House and Senate overrode several vetoes which refine and improve question 2 while firmly maintaining the integrity of this voter approved initiative. Provisions of this override include: - Allowing English learners in kindergarten to be educated in mainstream classes as well as sheltered English immersion classes. - Allowing 2-way immersion/bilingual education programs to continue to exist. - Adding accountability language to the Unz law to ensure that English learners are taught the same academic standards and curriculum frameworks as all other students. - Requiring report cards and progress reports for English language learners.

HIGHER EDUCATION OVERRIDES: LINE ITEMS

COMMUNITY COLLEGE WORKFORCE TRAINING FUND PROGRAM - The Legislature restored line item 7066-0015. This line item is funded at $900,000, and provides a state match to leverage revenues from employers who make payments on behalf of their employees that enable employees to take not-for-credit vocationally oriented training courses at community colleges. It helps to ensure that the statešs workforce has the education and skills needed to compete in the 21st century economy.

COMMONWEALTH COLLEGE -The Legislature restored line item 7100-0500. This line item provides $1,715,000 for the statešs honors college for academically gifted students. It is located at UMA at Amherst and helps these students to reach their full potential.

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS TOXIC USE REDUCTION INSTITUTE - The Legislature restored line item 7100-0300. This line item provides $1,717,447 for the Toxic Use Reduction Institute located at UMA at Lowell. The Institute provides training, information, research and technical support for Massachusetts businesses, municipalities, community groups, universities and state agencies on how to reduce the use of toxic chemicals.

NEW ENGLAND BOARD OF HIGHER EDUCATION - The Legislature restored line item 7066-0009. The line item provides $367,402 for the New England Board of Higher Education which administers the 50 year old higher education compact among the 6 New England states. Currently, as part of the implementation of the compact, students in the 6 New England states can attend public colleges in New England at a reduced rate (typically 150% of in-state resident tuition) if the course of study they wish to pursue is not available in their home state, but is one of the programs another of the New England states makes available as part of the compact.

HIGHER EDUCATION OVERRIDES: OUTSIDE SECTIONS

BOARD OF HIGHER EDUCATION - The Legislature overrode the Governoršs veto of outside Sections 683 and 693, which changed the make up of the 11 member Board of Higher Education by reducing the number of gubernatorial appointments from 10 to 7 and allowing the board of trustees at UMA to appoint 1 member, the boards of trustees at state colleges to appoint 1 member, and the boards of trustees at community colleges to appoint 1 member.

CLOSING PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS - The Legislature overrode the Governoršs veto of Section 684, which requires the board of higher education to obtain approval from the General Court to close a college.

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