Nicole St. Peter
For the ninth consecutive year, the Cellucci-Swift Administration has increased state aid to local communities, with municipalities and regional school districts receiving a total of $4.859 billion for FY2001. This represents an increase of $320.5 million or 7.1 percent over FY2000 disbursements.
Cellucci commented on the importance of the aid, saying, "As we work with communities to reform our educational system and rebuild our infrastructure, it is crucial that we also give them the financial tools to live up to these high expectations. It is only through a state and local partnership that these goals will be met."
"It is a testament to the strength of our economic policy over the past decade that we are now able to fund local aid at such high levels," said Swift. "It's really a remarkable turnaround from the days when state taxes were crippling the Massachusetts economy."
Chapter 70 aid, a program for school funding, will increase by $187.1 million to $2.990 billion, and Lottery aid, which is for unrestricted town use, has increased by $60 million to $730 million.
"Since education is the largest local expense for cities and towns, the increase in aid earmarked for education (Chapter 70) will be welcomed across the state," said Revenue -more- -page two- Commissioner Frederick A. Laskey. "Chapter 70 aid has increased continuously since the implementation of the Education Reform Act in 1993."
"The substantial $60 million increase in Lottery aid is an added bonus to local officials because those funds are flexible and may be used for any legal purpose where the community sees fit," said DOR's Deputy Commissioner of Local Services Joseph J. Chessey, Jr.
Local aid distributions to Massachusetts' 351 cities and towns and 84 regional school districts are known as Cherry Sheets, given that name because they were traditionally printed on cherry-colored paper. Cherry Sheet amounts are available on DOR's website under the Division of Local Services: www.massdor.com