The Honorable Alice Hanlon Peisch, House Chair
The Honorable Jason M. Lewis, Senate Chair
Joint Committee on Education
State House, Boston

Dear Representative Peisch, Senator Lewis, and Distinguished Members of the Committee,

On behalf of cities and towns in all parts of the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Municipal Association is writing to comment on bills before you related to student transportation. Making sure that all students are able to safely get to school and return home is a fundamental part of the public education system. This duty presents school districts with a challenging set of logistics, and is an increasingly expensive endeavor. In fiscal 2018, it cost cities and towns and local public school districts more than $605 million to transport students. This represents a $100 million increase since fiscal 2014, despite a variety of local initiatives to cut costs and save money.

We ask you to support H. 511, which would allow school districts to charge a fee to help pay for the cost of transporting local students to out-of-district vocational education programs. There would be no fee charged to low-income students. We ask you to support H. 445 and S. 289, which would establish a reimbursement program for student transportation to out-of-district vocational education programs. And we ask you to support S. 252, which would add student transportation as an eligible cost in the special education circuit breaker program. Each of these bills would enable cities and towns to fund high-cost student transportation obligations without diverting necessary resources away from other essential education priorities.

Please contact us at any time if you have any questions or need additional information by having your office reach out to me or MMA Legislative Director John Robertson at 617-426-7272 ext. 122, or jrobertson@mma.org at any time.

Thank you again for your support and commitment to the cities, towns, and public schools of Massachusetts.

Sincerely,

Geoffrey C. Beckwith
Executive Director & CEO