The Massachusetts Senate version of the budget, released Wednesday, contains good news for some small and medium-sized cities and towns.
The state guaranteed that if communities combine their school districts, they would never have to pay to bus their children again. But the state didn’t live up to its promise. The last time the legislature fully reimbursed for busing was 2001. This budget would fund the program at 90 percent.
 
Geoff Beckwith is with the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

“The investment of almost $20 million more to pay for those transportation costs will free up funds that can be spent for education in the classroom.”
 
But classrooms in community colleges and some state universities would lose out, at least compared to UMASS, which would see a $500 million increase. Michael Widmer is with the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation:
 
“That’s a concern I think in terms if that can be rectified in the debate on the senate floor and in the conference committee with the house.  I think that would be a positive step.”
 
Senators have a couple days to submit amendments to the budget. Debate begins next week.