Senator Lesser Signs Letter to Gov. Baker Urging Additional Resources for Regional School Transportation

SPRINGFIELD — Senator Eric P. Lesser, along with several Western Mass. Representatives and Senators, signed a letter to Governor Charlie Baker on Dec. 12 requesting that the state fully reimburse regional school districts for the cost of transporting students. “Costs associated with transportation in a regional school district represent a significant portion of a district’s budget because of the geographical footprint associated with bus routes across numerous communities, often with low population densities,” the letter reads in part.

The state currently has 58 regional school districts, which enroll about 107,000 students in more than 170 communities, the letter notes.

“The state has previously committed to providing this vital funding, and it's time it live up to its commitment. Fully reimbursing our regional school transportation costs is vital to our city and town budgets, many of which already struggle to come up with enough resources for our schools. I urge the Baker Administration to step up and help our schools meet this need,” said Sen. Lesser.

Regional school districts are mandated by the state to transport all students to and from their homes. This cost is usually at least partially reimbursed by the state, but this decision is revisited each year during budget negotiations between the Legislature and the Governor.

“Committing to 100% reimbursement would allow regional school districts to responsibly plan for upcoming school years,” the letter states.

The signers are all members of the Regional Schools Caucus which advocates on issues important to regional — and usually rural — schools.

They include Sens. Anne Gobi, the Senate chair of the caucus, and Adam Hinds and Reps. Peter Kocot, Smitty Pignatelli, Angelo Puppolo, Todd Smola, Stephen Kulik, Nicholas Boldyga, Solomon Goldstein-Rose and Paul Mark.

Read the full letter: Senator Lesser Co-Signs Letter to Gov. Baker on Regional School Transportation