WAMC News
5:36 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Patrick Administration Announces Gateway Cities Education Initiatives in FY 2013 Budget Proposal

Pittsfield, MA – Think-tank Mass Inc. has worked with the Patrick Administration to develop strategies to unlock economic and educational potential in the state's 24 Gateway Cities.

On Tuesday Governor Deval Patrick and Secretary of Education Paul Reville announced about 10 million dollars proposed in the fiscal year 2013 budget to invest in the state's public education systems. 9 million will be provided in competitive grants, with about 1 million going to an innovation fund to research and develop further strategies for addressing challenges in today's education system. The Patrick administration is hoping the 1 million dollar innovation fund will draw matching financial support from the private sector.

Secretary Reville announced the plans as part of the Governor's objective to close achievement gaps in schools across the state.
4 areas of funding outside of the innovation fund were outlines as part of the education strategy for the Gateway Cities.
575,000 dollars will provided to reach higher early education standards, including early English language literacy programs and reading standards for students leading up to 3rd grade.
3.64 million dollars will be used to address poverty. "Readiness Counselors" will be established to work with high school students to provide a connection to the community, counseling, health care, and housing services.
3.75 million dollars will be provided to differentiate student services - including improving instruction for English language learners, and to help provide programs for English language learning students outside of the schools core instruction.
And about 1 million dollars will be provided to establish career readiness programs, including establishing employment counselors for high schoolers.
Secretary Reville said the grants are made to be competitive.
That's partly because the first year of the funding will not kick in until the legislature approves the FY 2013 budget, which is expected in summer.
State Senator Benjamin Downing, who co-chairs the Gateway Cities caucus, sees the need for the investment in education as vital to develop work-ready graduates to thrive in the future economy.