The Legislature's recently passed $541 million closeout supplemental budget for fiscal 2019 includes another $1 million rural school aid, for in fiscal 2020, for a total of $3.5 million in rural school aid this fiscal year.
State Rep. John Barrett is particularly happy that there is extra money in the state budget for MassHire career centers and he's hoping to expand on a pilot program for on the job training.
Barrett had gotten money for the Berkshire career center last year to pilot a workforce development program at McCann Technical School. The program engaged General Dynamics and is eyed to line up the job training programs with the needs of the company.
The Pittsfield school system was particularly a big winner in this year's state budget.
The state's budget includes a $5 million increase for Pittsfield schools over last year. State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier called it a "downpayment" for significant increases to come in the next few years.
The big news in the state's budget is $5.18 billion in Chapter 70 aid for schools, according to state Rep. Paul Mark.
"That is the most in the history of Massachusetts and it is also the biggest increase year over year in this account," Mark said. "I think that is a really positive step toward what we have been working on getting this foundation budget changed."
Funded at $43.1 billion, H. 4000 makes major investments in education, housing, substance use disorder services, health care, and other areas while projecting a more than $476 million deposit into the Stabilization Fund – bringing the fund's balance to more than $3 billion to safeguard the future of vital programs and services.
State Sen. Adam Hinds secured money for the Berkshire Flyer, his rural school aid, and for numerous local organization in the Senate budget.
The Pittsfield Democrat said on Thursday his budget will help "get the fundamentals right" for Berkshire County. Those "fundamentals" this year, according to Hinds, is primarily education and transportation.