Legislators secure $400K in relief funds for W-H schools
BOSTON — The Mass. House and Senate have both approved a supplemental budget to provide additional relief for COVID related expenses, including funds for personal protective equipment, field hospitals and contact tracing.
Included are a pair of amendments filed by Senator Mike Brady, D-Brockton, Representative Josh Cutler, D-Pembroke, and Rep. Alyson Sullivan, R-Abington, to direct additional funds to the towns of Hanson and Whitman for the benefit of the regional school district.
One amendment will provide $200,000 for Whitman-Hanson to fund remote learning related expenses and another amendment will provide an additional $200,000 for personal protection equipment for the schools, staff and teaching professionals.
“We know this will be a challenging school year for all involved and these additional funds will certainly help,” said Cutler. “Now every Whitman-Hanson high school student will have access to a chromebook and every teacher and staff member in the district can be assured of having an adequate supply of PPE.”
Brady added, “Maintaining access to educational opportunities for all must be a priority. These amendments will allow our teachers to better support their students and provide the best education possible under these challenging circumstances.”
“We know that our classrooms are going to look different this fall as we grapple with the impacts of COVID-19. These amendments will provide sorely needed resources to benefit our schools and reduce the burden on local taxpayers,” said Sullivan.
As part of Governor Baker’s education guidance, school districts are required to create three separate re-opening plans. One of those plans must be for completely remote learning in the Fall. Another plan must be for a hybrid model that includes both remote and in-person learning. These plans will require support from the state and investment by school districts to ensure that remote learning still meets the needs of students.
The House and Senate bills will be reconciled and then sent to Gov. Baker for his approval. The budget is facilitated by federal CARES Act funding in response to the COVID pandemic.