State Aid to Reading Falls Short for FY 2019

Combined State Aid for Town and Education Funding Below Projections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                     CONTACT:

January 29, 2018                                                                        Matt Kraunelis 781-942-6611                                                                                           

(READING, MA) – Late last week the Town received details about State Aid from the Governor’s Proposed budget.  State Aid is a critical part of the revenue needed for town and school services for the Town of Reading and makes up approximately 15% of the revenue for the combined total Town and School Budget. 

The details of Reading’s State Aid are as follows:

  • Unrestricted General Government Aid is $3.35 million or a solid 3.5% increase over the current year. That 3.5%  increase is proposed for all communities in the Commonwealth; 
  • Chapter 70 (School) funding is $10.67 million or a meager 0.8% increase over the current fiscal year. That increase is inversely related to a community’s ability to pay, so Reading received only a small increase.  

“For the last five years, Reading has only received the “hold harmless” amount for Chapter 70 funding, which equals approximately $25 per student,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Doherty.

In total, including other smaller components, overall State Aid for the fiscal year beginning July 2018 increased 1.2%, or about $178,000 below our revenue forecast. This continues a 20-year pattern of shortfalls in State Aid even compared to the 2.5% annual limitation imposed on property tax growth.

“We understand that the state government faces some of the same financial challenges as we do at the local level. We also gratefully acknowledge that both Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karen Polito, as former Selectmen in their respective communities, have a full understanding of local concerns,” said Town Manager Robert LeLacheur, Jr.  “We appreciate other tools they have brought to us to help control some costs, we enjoy a very strong working relationship with their Administration, but we share their concern about the financial health of local governments.”

Both the Massachusetts House and Senate are at work developing their versions of the budget, and ultimately a final budget will not be expected for several months. Realistically without new revenues for the State budget, we do not expect much change in this 1.2% figure.

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