Chapter 70 Aid

  • Description
  • Funding History
  • Proposals

Chapter 70 aid is the state program that distributes funding to support to the state's 326 local and regional school districts. With over $4.5 billion in funding, Chapter 70 aid is by far the largest K-12 education-related line item in the state budget.

Chapter 70 education aid is distributed through a formula intended to ensure that each school district has sufficient resources to provide an adequate education for all of its students. The formula takes into account the ability of each local government to contribute and the demographic profile of students served. The formula is designed to have an equalizing effect, with less wealthy districts receiving more state aid than wealthier ones.

The Chapter 70 formula was created by the Education Reform Act of 1993, landmark legislation that responded to growing concerns about school funding adequacy and equity in Massachusetts. The Chapter 70 funding system is a part of the education reforms that facilitated Massachusetts becoming a national leader in education, while also reaching achievement levels competitive with international peers.

Prior to the Education Reform Act, the state contributed much less money to K-12 education, leaving school districts more dependent on local property taxes to fund their schools. This situation placed students from low-income communities at a disadvantage because these cities and towns have less ability to contribute to their schools. The Education Reform Act included a commitment to increase the total amount of education aid significantly over the 1990s and to distribute this aid more progressively through the Chapter 70 formula.

Updated June 2015

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