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BOSTON – Gov. Deval L. Patrick’s administration has announced more than $5.2 billion in state funding for the commonwealth’s cities and towns that will be included in its fiscal 2013 budget proposal.
According to a news release, the total will also include a $145 million increase in K-12 Chapter 70 education aid, the highest level in history. The increase brings the funding to $4.1 billion.
According to the release, the increase in Chapter 70 aid will fully fund all school districts at “foundation levels,” ensuring that they all will receive equal or greater funding than in fiscal 2012.
The local aid makes up about 16 percent of the annual state budget, which was slated to be filed by Patrick last week. Additional local-aid initiatives in the budget include:
• A new proposal to increase the veterans’ homeless-shelter reimbursement to cities and towns from 75 percent to 100 percent. The administration estimates that the fiscal 2013 caseload for veterans’ benefits will increase by 10 percent to 10,009 veterans.
• $7 million for a second round of Community Innovation Challenge program grants to provide financial support for regionalization and other efficiency initiatives in local governments.
• $833.9 million in unrestricted general-government aid, the same as the 2012 budget.
• The Special Education Circuit Breaker program, which reimburses districts for the most expensive students, will be funded at $213 million.
• The Charter School Reimbursement plan would be funded at $71.5 million. •