For Immediate Release - May 12, 2010

GOVERNOR PATRICK HIGHLIGHTS NEARLY $400 MILLION INVESTMENT IN SOUTH COAST AREA SCHOOLS

Visit to high school underscores Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to education, towns and residents

FALL RIVER - Wednesday, May 12, 2010 - As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's ongoing commitment to building a stronger Commonwealth through strategic investments and widespread innovation, Governor Deval Patrick today visited the Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School to meet with students and teachers, and underscore the importance of funding for public education. The Administration this year has invested nearly $400 million in the South Coast area in combined state and federal funds to ensure that all students have access to a high quality education that prepares them for a future of success.

"The South Coast is an economic engine for the Commonwealth and we've invested heavily in the region's communities and residents," said Governor Patrick. "Our commitment to our schools and helping prepare students for success in a 21st century economy is evident throughout the South Coast's classrooms."

"This Administration has a deep belief that investing in communities should be our top priority," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "We will not stop until every child in every town has the ability to access classroom teaching and learning that helps them reach their full potential as a student and a citizen."

Today's visit by the Governor included a meeting at the Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School to learn more about a partnership with People, Inc. in which more than 100 students at the school recently built a completely accessible home to support some of the most vulnerable citizens in the area. The project provided students with access to hands-on learning and community building experiences and was funded through a variety of measures, including fundraising and donations.

The Patrick-Murray Administration has made investments in education a top priority. Despite a $9 billion budget gap over the past two years due to the global economic crisis, the Administration has stood firm on funding for public education and overseen record investments in school aid for cities and towns. The Administration has proposed an all-time high $4 billion investment in Chapter 70 statewide and has maintained funding through state and federal grant programs.

Additionally, Governor Patrick was instrumental in ensuring that education was a funding priority in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) pushing Congress to include investments in education alongside other infrastructure programs. In total, the Governor's leadership led to $2 billion in Federal ARRA funds for public schools in Massachusetts.

On the South Coast, a total of $303 million has been directed to school districts through Chapter 70 with an additional $36 million going to the communities in state and federal grant programs. Meanwhile, a total of $60 million in ARRA funds has been provided to South Coast communities to help stabilize school budgets, keep teachers in classrooms and promote education reform initiatives.

"The key to sustainable, long-term economic growth in our region is a well-educated workforce," said Representative Michael Rodrigues. "With these investments in our children and our schools, it is clear Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray recognize how important a strong and robust South Coast is to our Commonwealth."

The state has been focused on policy improvements, as well as financial investments to support school districts. In January, the Governor signed historic education legislation to facilitate the turnaround of underperforming schools, promote innovation and choice and eliminate achievement gaps that persist despite the successes of the state's landmark Education Reform Act of 1993.

In addition to the financial investments in the South Coast, Governor Patrick played a key role in ensuring the approval of the new University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Law School through his advocacy to provide area residents with access to a quality law program at an affordable price.

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