BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) - The Senate began day two of the state budget debate Thursday focused on nearly 100 education amendment proposals. They approved $1 million dollars in new funding for Metco grants that allow city students to attend and access opportunities in suburban schools.
“For the last five years every single Metco student has passed the MCAS ...which far exceeds the statewide average,” said Sen. Sonia Chang Diaz (D-Boston).
Senators dedicated more funding for community colleges to develop a transfer system and standard course offerings. They added funds to public schools to implement suicide and violence prevention programs for gay and lesbian students.
“The suicide rate for gay and lesbian students is I believe three times higher than the suicide rate for other citizens,” said Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre). “It’s important to make sure that we save every life that we possibly can.”
The Senate approved full funding for special education. But Senator James Welch (D-West Springfield) said they held off on a proposal to reimburse $11.3 million to cities and towns for a federal mandate that requires municipalities to provide transportation for homeless school kids.
“In the Senate we’ve committed to covering the costs as well, but what we’re doing first, and what the Chair of Ways and Means has committed to doing first, is determining exactly what the costs are and getting them certified,” said Welch.
The Senate also gave the thumbs up to a review commission that will examine the efficacy of the state’s education funding formula to make sure resources are being spent wisely.