Showing posts with label supplement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label supplement. Show all posts

Saturday, March 26, 2022

MA Senate Passes $1.65 Billion Supplemental Budget

The Massachusetts State Senate on Thursday (3/24/22) passed a $1.65 billion supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22). The legislation makes investments in the state’s long-term COVID-19 response; addresses staffing shortages in schools; provides support for home and community-based services, assistance and protections for families experiencing housing and energy insecurity; funds winter road improvements; extends outdoor dining services as well as beer, wine and cocktails to-go, and provides for the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees in Massachusetts. Notably, the bill also would divest the state pension fund from Russian assets in response to the Russian war in Ukraine.

 

“Massachusetts has avoided the worst of the financial downside from this pandemic and its effects thanks to a history of careful financial planning and consistent investment in those programs and services which support public health and build resiliency in our communities and our Commonwealth,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “Today’s supplemental budget continues this trend by providing targeted funding to healthcare, housing, education, and transportation needs. Importantly, this budget ensures that Massachusetts can continue to offer sanctuary to refugees fleeing from violence abroad even as war continues in Ukraine. Thanks to an amendment championed by Senator Comerford, we are also investing crucial funding to the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance to continue providing victim services, including children’s advocacy centers and sexual assault programs. I want to thank Chair Rodrigues and his staff, the members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and my colleagues for their work to ensure that the needs of Massachusetts residents are met.”

 

“The passage of this supplemental budget today addresses a number of time sensitive needs as we look to simultaneously support our ongoing response to COVID-19, while continuing our Commonwealth’s recovery,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport)Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “Thanks to Senate President Spilka’s leadership and the overwhelming support of the Senate membership, we made clear with the passage of this supplemental spending plan that we will always prioritize protecting our most vulnerable populations, supporting our health care and education workforce, investing in local infrastructure needs and taking the necessary steps to ensure vital public services will be available and accessible to all who need them across the Commonwealth as we recover from the impacts of the pandemic.” 

 

Responding to COVID-19

To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and ensure robust preparation in the event of a future variant outbreak, the bill invests $700 million for the state’s COVID-19 response. This funding would ensure the continued no-cost availability of crucial services offered to residents during the pandemic, including on-site testing, vaccinations, and treatment, as well as public health staffing needs resulting from COVID-19.

 

To further protect families facing housing challenges, the supplemental budget extends through March 2023 several protections for tenants experiencing COVID-19-related financial hardship, including extending the requirement that a court grant a continuance in an eviction case for nonpayment of rent when the tenant has a pending rental assistance application.

 

The supplemental budget also extends popular pandemic-related provisions including outdoor dining services, and beer, wine and cocktails to-go through April 2023. The legislation also extends COVID-19 related bonuses for members of the Massachusetts National Guard.

 

Responding to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

The supplemental budget responds to the Russian Federation’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent violence against Ukrainian civilians. An amendment unanimously adopted on the floor of the Senate requires the Commonwealth's Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board to divest any holdings from companies officially sanctioned by the Biden administration or incorporated in Russia. The supplemental budget also allocates $10 million for the Office of Immigrants and Refugees to support the resettlement of international evacuees, including Ukrainian evacuees.

 

Housing and Energy Assistance

The supplemental budget includes several provisions relating to housing stability and support for individuals currently experiencing or near homelessness. The Senate proposal includes $100 million for the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program which provides eligible families with funds that they can use to keep their housing or obtain new housing. One amendment added to the budget on the Senate floor would increase the cap of the RAFT program to $10,000 for the remainder of the fiscal year. Another amendment clarifies existing law to ensure that in all eviction cases where the only valid reason for the eviction is nonpayment of rent, that the tenant has access to protections. The supplemental budget also dedicates $20 million to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides crucial assistance to families facing high utility bills. To increase oversight, the bill also directs the department of housing and community development to make detailed quarterly reports on the state's eviction diversion initiative.

 

The supplemental budget allocates $2.8 million for rates at shelters for homeless individuals and also ensures that down payment assistance funds received from the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency or the Massachusetts Housing Partnership will not be considered taxable income.

 

Health Care & Mental Health

The bill allocates $346 million in federal American Rescue Plan funding for Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) resources to ensure that eligible Medicaid users throughout the Commonwealth are able to receive health care and medical services in their own homes or local communities.  Alongside this investment, the bill also appropriates $55 million in state resources to support reimbursement rates for human and social service providers that have also been doing crucial work during the pandemic. To address the crisis of mental health care, the bill also dedicates $10 million to suicide prevention and intervention services, focused on staffing and other resources at crisis centers, and the establishment of a statewide 988 suicide prevention hotline.

 

An amendment adopted to the supplemental budget allocates $24 million of the state’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds specifically for the creation of new behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment beds.

 

Education

In response to reports of staffing shortages in public schools, the supplemental budget includes a provision authorizing the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education to issue emergency educator licenses until 180 days after the end of the public health emergency. For private special education schools operating under Chapter 766, the budget allocates $140 million to fill immediate staffing needs.

 

Other funding items of note include:

 

  • $100 million for a new Winter Road Recovery Assistance Program for cities and towns to repair potholes and roads and bridges worn down by adverse weather conditions.
  • $20 million for Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) funding which supports no-cost counseling, advocacy, and intervention services to victims of crime, thereby covering the immediate needs of the Victim and Witness Assistance Board as they are experiencing a shortage of federal funding
  • $10 million for Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC)
  • $8.4 million for Department of Children and Families foster family rates
  • $8 million for Early Intervention staff stabilization supports
  • $5 million for state election costs
  • $5 million for the Department of Mental Health to expand clientele housing supports
  • $1.8 million for mental health services for international evacuees resettled in the Commonwealth
  • $1.7 million for state park investments, including water safety initiatives
  • $609,000 for additional staffing to implement the Next Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy legislation, which was passed early in the session
  • $500,000 to expand the capacity of the Commission on the Status of Women

 

A version of this legislation having previously passed the House of Representatives, the differences will need to be worked out by the branches before advancing to the Governor’s desk

Download a copy of this news release as a PDF ->   https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JzBjct6Z59qDJYspTuGQ643FW_42zW5A/view?usp=sharing

MA Senate Passes $1.65 Billion Supplemental Budget
MA Senate Passes $1.65 Billion Supplemental Budget

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Massachusetts House, Senate Passes $261.6 Million FY 2021 Supplemental Budget


Massachusetts House, Senate

Massachusetts House, Senate Passes $261.6 Million FY 2021 Supplemental Budget

Today, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a $261.6 million supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) that addresses time-sensitive deficiencies, extends expanded voting options, provides supports for the implementation of the 2020 landmark police reform law and makes investments to support the Commonwealth's continued recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we continue to pave the way to an equitable recovery, the supplemental budget passed today includes $191 million to provide support and stability for our early educator workforce, $27.9 million for one-time economic relief payments to families on transitional assistance, and $12.5 million for costs associated with the implementation of last session's landmark police reform bill.

"As we carefully emerge into a post-pandemic world, we must continue to keep a close eye on areas which are critical to our Commonwealth's wellbeing," stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). "This supplemental budget provides us additional tools to ensure such areas as voter access, early education, public health, veteran and family services and transportation remain resilient as we get back to better. I want to thank Chair Rodrigues, his team at Senate Ways and Means, Speaker Mariano, Representative Michlewitz, their staffs and my colleagues for their work and collaboration on this important legislation."

"This supplemental budget continues to support the critical needs of those most impacted by the pandemic and includes many of our shared priorities, such as child care, voting, transportation and the implementation of our police reform law," said Speaker of the House Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). "I would like to thank Chair Michlewitz and his team, as well as Senate President Spilka, Chair Rodrigues and their teams for their work as we position our Commonwealth towards a strong recovery."

"This budget allows us to pay our bills and address time sensitive needs, while meeting the immediate challenges facing our Commonwealth by investing in our early educator workforce, helping vulnerable families, and fulfilling our funding obligations to ensure timely implementation of the police reform law. I am also glad that this budget will close the loophole in line of duty death benefits so the families of fallen police officers can get what they are owed," said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways & Means (D-Westport). "Thank you to Senate President Spilka for her steady leadership and continued support and to my colleagues in the House and Senate for their tireless work to aid Massachusetts' equitable recovery and set the state on the path toward a new better."

"This supplemental budget includes a number of critical investments crucial to the Commonwealth's future such as funds for early education, police reform, and increased aid to families in need" said Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Chair of the House Committee on Ways & Means (D-Boston). "This legislation also provides much needed clarity on the future of the MBTA's governing structure and extends our meaningful voter access laws for the reminder of the year. I want thank Speaker Mariano, Senate President Spilka, Chair Rodrigues, and all my colleagues in the Legislature for their tireless work and advocacy on these issues."

Notable components of the funding package include:

Extended Voting Options

The legislation passed today allows for the popular practice of voting early by mail to continue through December 15, 2021, giving eligible voters the ability to exercise their right to cast a ballot while protecting their health and safety. The bill further allows cities and towns the ability to offer early in-person voting for such elections.  The extension of these additional voting options come as the Commonwealth continues to grapple with COVID-19 and its related variants and on the heels of elections in 2020 that saw record participation using these same methods.

"Passage of the Supplemental Budget today with provisions to extend mail-in and early voting options sends a strong message that both the Senate and the House are committed to ensuring that all voices are heard in our democracy. This is particularly critical in light of recent laws passed by many states to restrict voter access," said Senate Majority Leader Cindy Creem (D. Newton). "In addition, today's action providing for a temporary extension of these provisions, provides the Legislature with the opportunity to take up more comprehensive voting reforms later this session, and I look forward to that debate." 

'The voting provisions put forward in the supplemental budget will allow cities and towns to offer safe, accessible election options this fall while we continue to work on their permanency. I thank Speaker Mariano for his commitment to expanded voting access," said Representative Dan Ryan, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Election Laws (D-Boston). "I congratulate Chairman Michlewitz and the Ways and Means Committee on a thoughtful supplemental budget."

Transportation

The supplemental budget passed today establishes a new seven-member Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Board of Directors. The new oversight body, which takes the place of the Fiscal Management and Control Board, will comprise of seven members and consist of the Secretary of Transportation, serving as ex officio; five members appointed by the Governor; and one member appointed by the MBTA Advisory Board. The bill requires that one of the Governor appointees to the board be a rider that is a resident of an environmental justice population. Of the seven members, the bill also requires a board seat be given to a member of the labor community.

Child Care

To support early educators who have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic, the supplemental budget invests $131 million of federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding for early educator stabilization grants, workforce supports and system-wide technology upgrades. Additionally, the bill directs $60 million from Early Education and Care (EEC) COVID-19 Stabilization and Workforce reserve established in the FY21 General Appropriations Act for direct grants to state-subsidized providers.

Safety Net Supports

In addition to supporting early educators, the supplemental budget takes meaningful action to combat the lingering effects of the economic crises the Commonwealth has faced over the last 15 months and ensure families receive the economic supports they need to live, work and provide stability for their children. To that end, the budget passed today invests $27.9 million to provide for one-time payments to families that receive Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) benefits, totaling $525 to $580 per child.

Public Safety

Additionally, the supplemental budget provides $12.5 million to cover costs related to the implementation of last session's landmark police reform bill. These funds will be used to support bridge academies for reserve officers and special state police officers previously not subject to the same training requirements as the general law enforcement population, to support the first diverse state police cadet class, and to meet municipal police training requirements on mandatory training on de-escalation, use of force, and school resource officers. The bill also includes $5 million to stand up the Peace Officer Standards & Training (POST) Commission.

The legislation will also allow the pension of a police officer who dies while performing their duties in certain emergencies to be paid to their surviving spouse. This change, which closes a loophole, was made to honor the service of Officer Manny Familia, a Worcester police officer who died in June while heroically attempting to save a 14-year-old boy from drowning.

Other notable highlights of the FY 2021 supplemental budget include:

  • $31.9 million for the Medical Assistance Trust Fund;
  • $13 million for National Guard activations, including pandemic-related work;
  • $11 million for the Department of State Police for pandemic-related costs;
  • $9.9 million for increased COVID-19 costs at the Department of Public Health
  • $7.8 million for home health aide rate increases;
  • $5.4 million for the Chelsea and Holyoke Soldiers' Homes for pandemic-related costs.
  • $1 million for the Supplier Diversity Office.

The legislation now moves to the Governor's desk for consideration.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

FM #544 - What does the Franklin Education Foundation do? - 05/06/21 (audio)

FM #544 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 544  in the series. 


This session of the radio show shares my conversation with Pandora Carlucci and Joni Magee, Board members of the Franklin Education Foundation (FEF). We had our conversation via virtual conference bridge to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

We talk about how the FEF supported the Franklin education with supplemental grants to teachers for educational enhancements. The grants total more than $400,000 since 1997.


Pandora was one of the founders of the FEF. 


The recording runs about 26 minutes, so let’s listen to my conversation with Pandora and Joni. Audio file = https://player.captivate.fm/episode/7bb1628c-d589-4617-9b5d-d82a463ebd07



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Franklin Education Foundation =  https://www.franklined.org/

About page = https://www.franklined.org/about 

Volunteer = https://www.franklined.org/get-involved/volunteer 

Donate = https://www.franklined.org/get-involved/donate 


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We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm). 


This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.

 

How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors

  • If you don't like something here, please let me know


Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.

 

For additional information, please visit Franklinmatters.org/  or www.franklin.news 


If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com


The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.


I hope you enjoy!

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You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

 

FM #544 - What does the Franklin Education Foundation do? - 05/06/21 (audio)
FM #544 - What does the Franklin Education Foundation do? - 05/06/21 (audio)

Monday, July 22, 2019

In the News: college students not aware of SNAP benefits available

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"Hunger is a problem for some college students in MetroWest, and there’s a federal program that could help them.

However, a recent study shows millions of students are potentially missing out on the program, because they either don’t know about it or the eligibility rules are too complicated to understand.

The program is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Nearly two million college students didn’t receive SNAP benefits in 2016, even though they were potentially eligible, according to a December 2018 study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. The report recommended the U.S. Department of Agriculture improve its efforts to clarify SNAP eligibility requirements, and make them more accessible."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
https://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20190721/college-students-going-hungry-many-miss-out-on-snap-benefits

Visit the SNAP web page for additional info on benefits
https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program
https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program
https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Franklin Education Foundation Announces The 2019 Grant Awardees

The Franklin Education Foundation (FEF) has awarded 10 grants totaling $25,905 for 2019 to teachers in the Franklin Public School (FPS) system. A committee composed of FEF representatives and FPS staff read all proposals through a blind review process and selected the recipients. 

Final approval was made by the full FEF board at its December meeting. “Consideration was given to need, innovation, impact, and integration with other school programs when selecting applications for funding. These 10 grants will provide needed funding for innovative programs at the elementary, middle, and high schools that would not otherwise be possible”, stated Kit Brady, Ph.D., Chair of the FEF Grant Review Committee.

The committee also awarded this year’s FEF Pinnacle Award to Mary Cotillo and Erin O'Leary of Horace Mann Middle School for their proposal to enhance classroom libraries in Grades 6-8 to support the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) social emotional competencies curriculum. The Pinnacle Award provides up to $5000 for the project budget.

This year’s other recipients at the elementary school level are (lead applicant listed first): Kennedy Elementary School – Chris Banks, Epson projector set up for physical education and health lessons; Parmenter Elementary School – Stephanie Consilvio and Shannon Barca, Design thinking and digital literacy makerspace.

At the middle school level are: District wide - Erin O'Leary and Mary Cotillo, Author visits to all FPS middle schools; Remington Middle School – Dan Chase and Susan Richards, Video production studio (Year 2); Jane Pichette, Celebrate diversity art installation; and Jane Pichette and Jeff Chaffee, Interdisciplinary program to create a mosaic art installation (Year 3).

At Franklin High School are: Dawn-Marie Fernandes, Language lab for English learners; Brenna Johnson, Art installation for FHS main entrance; and Patricia London, Celebrate fandom for reading.

Franklin Education Foundation (FEF)
Franklin Education
Foundation (FEF)
Since its inception in 1997, the FEF has awarded approximately $400,000 in grants to FPS. Yearly fundraisers such as November’s Harlem Wizards basketball game as well as an annual fund campaign provide much appreciated support from businesses, families, and organizations for the FEF grants. 

To see a list of programs the FEF has funded over the years, visit www.franklined.org. Follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/franklined.org/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/FranklinEdOrg). 

The Franklin Education Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization. All gifts are fully tax deductible. New members are always welcome – see our web site for an application or email: franklined.org@gmail.com.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Important definitions

Jeff Roy has a couple of important posts on the Franklin School Committee blog:

Continuing the dialog on policy KCD

By Jeffrey Roy on Policy

In the continuing debate over the proposed policy on the donation of non-budgeted funds, I thought it would be helpful to provide you with additional resources on the topic. We have assembled a list of articles which discuss the topic, which, at best, can be described as a delicate balancing act. You can [...]

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Defining supplement not supplant

By Jeffrey Roy on Policy

Franklin’s proposed policy on donations of non-budgeted funds (policy KCD) is the subject of two prior posts (#1 and #2). In this post, we address the supplement not supplant language. The proposed policy would encourage and welcome future giving, but only to the extent that the donations supplement rather than supplant – take the place of [...]

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