BOSTON – Last night, Representative Antonio F.D. Cabral (D-New Bedford) and his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously passed historic legislation to invest $1.5 billion in the Commonwealth’s public education system.

“This legislation represents a new chapter in education financing that better recognizes the needs of low-income students, English learners, and special needs students. This is undoubtedly a transformative piece of legislation for the entire state, but it is particularly significant for New Bedford and the Gateway Cities,” explained Rep. Cabral. “While no compromise is perfect, these changes will go a long way in addressing the inequities in the current system of education financing. Early projections, based on our best estimates on anticipated student enrollment, suggest that New Bedford will potentially see an increase of $85 million in Chapter 70 funding by FY2027, once the seven year phase-in is complete.”

Known as The Student Opportunity Act, the legislation invests funding to support the needs of English learners and school districts that serve high concentrations of low-income students in order to help address persistent disparities in student achievement. In addition, school districts across the Commonwealth will benefit from updates to the existing funding formula, along with increased state investment in other vital education aid programs such as transportation, guidance and psychological services, school buildings and special education. 

“There is no doubt this bill represents a significant victory for our community and I am proud to have fought for the children of New Bedford and their futures. As we all know, education never stops evolving and neither should our conversation on how to improve the ways we teach our students. I will continue to fight for changes that I feel are necessary to provide quality, equitable education to all public school children,” said Rep. Cabral.

The legislation couples new investments with policy updates designed to monitor and measure progress and support effective approaches to closing opportunity gaps. The bill modernizes the K-12 education funding and policy landscape in the following four areas:

  1. Fully implements the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC) to ensure that the school funding formula provides adequate and equitable funding to all districts across the state
  • Provides an estimated $1.4 billion in new Chapter 70 aid over and above inflation when fully implemented over the next seven years.
  1. Provides additional state financial support to help public schools and communities deliver a high-quality education to students
  • Fully funds charter tuition reimbursements, which provide transitional aid to help districts when students leave to attend charter schools, within a three-year timetable.
  • Lifts the annual cap on Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) spending for school building construction/renovation by $150 million (from $600 million to $800 million), enabling the MSBA to accept more projects across the state into its funding pipeline. 
  1. Implements policy updates designed to maximize the impact of new funding in improving student outcomes and closing opportunity gaps
  1. Identifies education policy areas requiring further analysis and data collection

The bill will now go to a conference committee of House and Senate conferees to bring both education proposals together before being sent to the governor for his signature.

— Rep. Cabral's Office