MTA President Merrie Najimy said today that the Legislature’s recent passage of the American Rescue Plan Act spending bill is a “tremendous victory” for public education and “another step forward on racial and economic justice.”
The Legislature’s passage of H.4269, a measure to appropriate a substantial portion of the state’s ARPA funding, will provide critical investments for public education, preK-16, and takes important steps to address the significant challenges confronting the state’s public schools and colleges.
The bill provides almost $400 million to public schools and colleges. It includes funds for building maintenance projects, improved air ventilation systems, a program to increase educator diversity, and expanded college and vocational school workforce training programs, as well as funds to expand programs to address campus hunger and college student behavioral and mental health needs.
“The funding allocated through this ARPA bill is a tremendous victory and presents us with the resources to meet the urgency of this moment.”
MTA President Merrie Najimy
“MTA educators, parents and students made a powerful case to legislators to provide funding to address building deficiencies that are a result of decades of disinvestment in public education,” Najimy said. “We need transformative investments in our public schools and campuses that will lead to a recovery rooted in racial and economic justice. The funding allocated through this ARPA bill is a tremendous victory and presents us with the resources to meet the urgency of this moment.”
Unionized educators have submitted photos documenting problems in the places where they work and where their students learn. The photos were part of a broader MTA effort to persuade the Legislature to allocate a portion of the $5 billion in federal funding that the state received to address critical health and safety needs in public schools and colleges. Najimy thanked state lawmakers for ensuring that the one-time ARPA investment will have an immediate impact on the Commonwealth’s school and campus facilities.
“Thank you to Senate President Karen Spilka, Speaker Ron Mariano, Chairman Michael Rodrigues and Chairman Aaron Michlewitz for their leadership,” Najimy said. “We urge Governor Charlie Baker to sign this legislation into law.”