BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration announced today additional state education funds, totaling more than $8.2 million, will be released this week to school districts that enrolled students who evacuated from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
This is the second installment of $15 million in additional Fiscal Year 2018 funding pledged by the Baker-Polito Administration to help support the costs of educating students who enrolled in Massachusetts schools following Hurricanes Maria and Irma. The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget proposal also included an additional $15 million for FY19, and if included in the final budget, would bring the total additional school aid for districts educating students who evacuated to Massachusetts to more than $30 million.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will distribute more than $8.2 million in aid to 122 school districts impacted by increased student enrollment, consistent with the state’s school funding formula, known as Chapter 70. In April, more than $6.7 million was distributed to 107 school districts around the Commonwealth impacted by additional student enrollments.
“Across the Commonwealth, districts and teachers have welcomed students impacted by these hurricanes to our classrooms so they can continue getting a good education with minimal disruptions,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through working with the Legislature to provide this additional funding, we have been able to support thousands of students who have come to Massachusetts.”
“The Commonwealth’s schools have done a tremendous job supporting students and their families during an extremely difficult time, and this additional funding will ensure our teachers have the resources they need to continue educating these students,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.
In January, Governor Baker filed a supplemental budget bill which included $15 million in additional local aid to help schools address the costs of educating students who enrolled following the hurricanes in the Caribbean. Between October and March, approximately 3,000 students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands enrolled in Massachusetts K-12 schools, and there are currently more than 2,200 evacuees still enrolled in Massachusetts public schools.
“Many of these students are learning English, at the same time they are adapting to a new school and new home. We are thankful to all our teachers and educators who have worked hard to help these students continue their education under difficult circumstances,” Education Secretary James Peyser said.
“We are pleased that this vital funding will support students from Puerto Rico, and we are grateful to these school districts for their work to ensure the students’ educational needs are being met,” Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan said.
“I am grateful to all the teachers who welcomed students into their classrooms mid-year following the hurricanes in Puerto Rico,” Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley said. “This aid will help reimburse districts for their work.”
The Baker-Polito Administration continues to coordinate hurricane evacuee assistance efforts across state agencies and works daily with the Commonwealth’s 22 Family Resource Centers and other Community Based Organizations/Centers to help evacuees access FEMA and Commonwealth-funded disaster benefits and provide critical case management support to individuals and families impacted by Hurricanes Maria and Irma.