Boston: Representative John H. Rogers (D-Norwood/Walpole) voted in a rare Saturday session of the legislature to override the veto of Governor Charlie Baker (R-Swampscott) and reinstate vital funding for students with special needs.
The Circuit Breaker line item, which was invented by Rogers in 2004 when he was serving as the Chairman of the House Committee on Ways & Means, reimburses local school districts for a portion of their costs to educate special education students with severe needs. Those costs often run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
“Twelve years ago I identified the challenge of exploding cost of educational services to our most needy and vulnerable populations” said Rogers, now the Ranking Member of the Committee on Education “and we created the Circuit Breaker to validate that obligation and elevate the financial burden to communities like Norwood. Every year is a fight for funding, but it is a fight I am willing to wage on behalf of the schoolchildren, parents and taxpayers of Norwood’s Public Schools. ”
The veto override reinstated $3,723,180 into the State Budget raising the available amount of funds for Circuit Breaker reimbursement to $277,281,180. This year Norwood/Walpole will receive X, which is an increase of Y dollars over FY16.
Rogers is the author of a number of bills before the House of Representatives which deal with education finance. His bill H. 427 An Act Expanding the Special Education Reimbursement Program would allow special education transportation costs to be included in the Circuit Breaker calculation. Also his Act Strengthening Public Education in the Commonwealth, would reform and expand the way Chapter 70 aid to schools is distributed, raising Norwood’s Foundation budget by nearly $3 Million.