NEW BEDFORD — State Rep. Antonio Cabral (D - 13th Bristol) and New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell have issued statements regarding the Student Opportunity Act, released on Thursday by the Joint Committee on Education.

The two politicians say the legislation will beneficial to school districts like New Bedford’s, providing an additional $1.4 billion in new Chapter 70 aid over the next seven years to gateway cities with a high number of low-income students.

“The bill reported out of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education today is a promising step to help cities across the state, including New Bedford, to provide low-income students the education they deserve,” Mayor Mitchell said.

“I’m grateful that state lawmakers have listened to the arguments made by the those of us who have advocated for increased state funding as a means of leveling of the playing field.”

Specifically, additional funding will be provided to school districts based on their share of low-income students. New Bedford, for example, a that serve the largest percentage of low-income students in the state, will receive an additional increment equal to 100-percent of its base foundation allotment, nearly doubling the amount of funding attached to low-income students in the city. The bill will also expand the special education circuit breaker, reimbursing school districts with exceptionally high special educations costs.

“We all should be celebrating the fact that the Legislature has produced a document that will truly transform how much state funding public school districts like New Bedford receive,” said Cabral.

“There are a lot of positive aspects of this bill, such as the push to fully fund the charter school reimbursement formula. But as this critical bill works its way through the Legislature and further analysis is conducted on its contents, I will continue to fight for important changes to how we fund charter schools as a state.

The bill is up for a vote on Beacon Hill on October 3.

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