Dear Senator,

We are writing to express our deep appreciation for the many provisions in the Senate Ways and Means Committee budget proposal (S. 4) that benefit and support cities and towns across the Commonwealth, and we welcome the opportunity to offer insights on proposed amendments that will be before you next week, during your deliberations on the fiscal 2025 state budget.

S. 4 increases Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) by $38.1 million (3%), which is evidence that Senate leaders are once again prioritizing a strong state-local partnership, and helping provide critical support to cities and towns in order to deliver essential local services to their residents. The MMA is grateful for this strong proposal and what it would mean for our communities all across Massachusetts.

The Senate Ways and Means proposal also includes funding for year four of six of the landmark Student Opportunity Act, and increases Chapter 70 Minimum Aid to $104 per pupil. This increase to Chapter 70 Minimum Aid is a top priority for cities and towns, and this investment would have a tremendous impact on schools in all corners of the Commonwealth. Under the House 2 proposal, 228 school districts, out of 318 statewide, would have received new Chapter 70 aid of less than $104 per student. The Senate Ways and Means Committee proposal makes a strong statement by lifting up these districts.

In addition, the Senate Ways and Means proposal leverages surtax revenue to support critical municipal infrastructure needs, with important supplemental aid for local road and bridges as well as local culverts.

We are deeply grateful to Senate President Spilka, Chair Rodrigues, and the Members of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means for the essential investments provided by S. 4. This strong support shows a powerful commitment to the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts.

In this letter, we are respectfully asking you to support amendments to build on the impressive Senate Ways and Means proposal.

Please Support the Following Key Municipal and Education Amendments:

Amendments 661, 734, 748 (Regional School Transportation 100% Reimbursement) – Please support an increase to the Regional School Transportation account (7035-0006), which is critical to rural and smaller communities. Amendment 661, filed by Senator Mark, would fund 100% of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s fiscal 2025 projected claims at $121 million. We also support similar amendments 734 and 748 filed by Senator Ed Kennedy and Senator Cronin.

Amendment 663 (Transportation Reimbursement for OOD Vocational Students) – Please support an increase for Out-of-District Vocational Transportation to bring the account (7035-0007) from $1 million to $2 million. Amendment 663, filed by Senator Mark, would fund approximately 34% of the anticipated claims for fiscal 2025.

Amendment 631 (Rural School Aid) – Please support an increase of $2.5 million to the Rural School Aid account (7061-9813), which would support the unique challenges experienced by rural school districts. Amendment 631, filed by Senator Mark, would provide much-need support to this key account.

Amendments 619, 620 (Increasing Minimum Per Pupil Aid to $110) – We deeply appreciate the Senate Ways and Means proposal to increase Minimum Aid to $104 per student, and recognize that this is important progress for 228 school districts (66% of all districts) that were set to receive less than $104 per pupil increase in Chapter 70 aid this year. As you know, the MMA has consistently advocated for increases to Minimum Aid, and we appreciate your consideration of Amendments 619 and 620 filed by Senator Tarr and Senator Cronin, respectively, which would increase Chapter 70 Minimum Aid (7061-0008) to $110 per pupil.

Amendments 642, 645, 660, 666, 691, 799, 837, 1033 (Chapter 70-related Reviews, Commissions, and Relief) – The passage of the historic Student Opportunity Act in 2019 brought massive investments in public K-12 education. Chapter 70 rates were increased to better reflect the costs associated with delivering educational services, the Special Education Circuit Breaker was enhanced to include transportation reimbursements, and Charter School mitigation payments were codified. As we enter the fourth year of a six-year rollout, certain trends have started to emerge, including an increased challenge for cities and towns to meet their Chapter 70 required local contribution. With major increases in the state’s foundation budget, municipalities are seeing their portion of the contribution increase, often outpacing municipal revenue growth. Additional challenges exist for districts that are Minimum Aid, though they will greatly benefit from the Senate Ways and Means proposed increase.

We support the efforts outlined in these amendments and are ready to partner with the Legislature to explore ways to strengthen the Chapter 70 formula.

Again, we would like to express our gratitude to Senate President Spilka and Chair Rodrigues for presenting a fiscal blueprint that makes significant and timely investments in the Commonwealth’s cities and towns. This is a critical time for cities and towns, as inflationary pressures and the constraints of Proposition 2½ have squeezed local operating budgets and impacted key municipal and school services. Local governments are excited to build on this essential partnership with state leaders to tackle the critical issues facing the Commonwealth.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to have your office contact me, MMA Senior Executive and Legislative Director Dave Koffman at, or Deputy Legislative Director Jackie Lavender Bird at at any time.

Thank you for your support and commitment to cities and towns in Massachusetts.


Adam Chapdelaine
MMA Executive Director and CEO