Naughton said he will work to protect school funding

CLINTON — In light of Gov. Deval Patrick's proposed mid-year budget cuts, known as 9C cuts, last week, Rep. Harold Naughton Jr. said he is concerned "to learn about the extensive budget cuts" authorized by the administration.

"While it is necessary to close the anticipated budgetary gap, it is a shame to learn that funding appropriated projects and services in our district will be cut," Naughton said. "Upon hearing this news, I would like to reassure my commitment to taking deliberate action to protect funding critical to our district such as regional school transportation, special education and local aid."

The governor announced the proposed cuts late Wednesday. Naughton was still reviewing the details when The Item went to press last Thursday.

Cuts were reported to regional school transportation, special education reimbursements, Chapter 70 "pothole" account, vocational school transportation (eliminated), charter school reimbursements, sewer rate relief (eliminated), extended learning time grants, kindergarten expansion grants and library aid.

Last week, Sterling selectmen spoke with their representative on the Wachusett School Committee about the effect the regional transportation cut would have on regional school districts. Naughton's district includes towns in the Wachusett, Nashoba, Tahanto and Algonquin regional school districts.

"Despite this setback, I will take a careful and detailed look at all available options, one of which may include using funds from the state's Rainy Day Fund, one of the largest in the nation, to fill these voids. Similarly, I support and agree with Speaker DeLeo's opposition to any proposals to cut local aid funding. Our towns rely heavily on state funding for a number of critical services and programs, and to cut local aid funding would be irresponsible and place unnecessary burdens on our towns and residents."

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