More money needed to send city students to suburban schools

Governor Charlie Baker cut nearly $1 million from the program

BOSTON (WWLP) – The METCO program brings Boston and Springfield students into suburban schools to promote diversity in the classroom. METCO supporters say more of their students are graduating high school and going on to attend college.

“It’s a program that works for desegregation; it’s a program that works for educational achievement. It doesn’t come cheap. We have to pay for it,” said State Representative Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington).

METCO received $19 million from the state in FY15, but recent budget troubles led Governor Charlie Baker to cut nearly $1 million from the program. Supporters said that money is crucial because it went towards busing students to and from the suburbs. The Governor’s budget cut may impact more than just education.

METCO Executive Director Dr. Jean McGuire told 22News it could also cost jobs. “It means people will be laid off; it means children won’t get academic support services.”

Program supporters made their pitch to state lawmakers to bring funding levels up to $21 million for the next fiscal year, which begins in July. That money would support more than 3,300 students from Boston and Springfield who participate in the program. It is now up to the Governor and state lawmakers to decide how much money to dedicate to METCO in the next budget. Governor Baker is expected to file his version of the fiscal 2016 budget next Wednesday.

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