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PRESS RELEASE- State Reserve Funding Comes Through for School Districts: Downing Announces FY 2009 “Pothole” Grants for Local School Districts
September 26, 2008

Pittsfield- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D – Pittsfield) announces that the Massachusetts  Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has allotted the legislatively appropriated $5.5 million for Fiscal Year 2009’s Foundation Reserve (“Pothole”) Program to school districts statewide, $768,000 of which has been funneled to eight school districts in Downing’s Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin Senate District.

 

“These annual grants provide much needed relief to cities, towns and regional school districts across the Commonwealth,” stated Downing.  “This funding will provide cash-strapped districts with the resources necessary to support and strengthen our education system.  Pothole funding helps maintain a first-rate public education delivery system.”

 

This funding, provided by the Massachusetts Legislature annually through the Commonwealth’s General Appropriations Act, provides financial relief to municipalities and school districts.  These one-time grants supplement unique funding gaps and help pay for schools.  At this time the Department will disperse eighty percent of the appropriated funds. Remaining funds will be kept on hand to deal with emergency situations as they arise throughout the school year. 

 

Two of the largest grants in western Massachusetts went to Mohawk Trail ($448,000) and Gateway Regional School District ($155,000).  These districts were chosen because of the unique funding challenges they face as rural districts experiencing declining enrollment.  Other local districts benefiting from pothole assistance include Berkshire Hills Regional ($65,000), Hawlemont Regional ($44,000) and Southern Berkshire Regional ($27,000).

 

Municipalities and districts seeking Pothole funding must follow the grant application guidelines established by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  For more information on pothole funding, visit the Department’s website at www.doe.mass.edu. 

 

Details for the eight school districts located in the Berkshire, Hampshire & Franklin Senate District receiving Foundation Reserve funds in FY 2009 are below:

 

FY09 Foundation Reserve Program

AWARD

 

 

Category B

 

Relief for municipalities affected by stresses in the commercial agricultural, fishing, or lobster industries

 

WILLIAMSBURG            

9,000

 

 

Category D

 

For districts with fewer than 30 students per square mile and more than 7% enrollment decline between FY03-FY08.  Preference given to those enrolled in GIC

 

HAWLEMONT REGIONAL

27,000

MOHAWK TRAIL REGIONAL

275,000

 

 

Category F

 

 

Assistance for schools where FY02 state aid was greater than in FY09   

 

CONWAY PUBLIC SCHOOLS        

9,000

WILLIAMSBURG PUBLIC SCHOOLS

5,000

BERKSHIRE HILLS REGIONAL

65,000

FARMINGHAM RIVER REGIONAL

6,000

GATEWAY REGIONAL

155,000

HAWLEMONT REGIONAL                  

17,000

MOHAWK TRAIL REGIONAL

173,000

SOUTHERN BERKSHIRE REGIONAL

27,000

 

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