SECTION 1. To create a new capital infrastructure and investment tool within the Massachusetts School Building Authority, established under section 1A of chapter 70, to provide for a program of capital investments for career and technical education programs and career and technical education regional schools, as defined in Chapter 74 of the General Laws, for investment in equitable access to public education and industry-relevant workforce and economic development infrastructure; to support greater access to career and technical education programs and career and technical education regional schools as defined in Chapter 74; to fund replacement and renovation of school infrastructure to meet workforce demands of regional employers and increase equitable access for all students applying to Chapter 74 programs and schools; and to support the purchase of critical training equipment for the purposes of teaching and learning, the sums set forth in this section, for the purposes and subject to the conditions specified in this act, are hereby made available, subject to the laws regulating the disbursement of public funds, which sums shall be in addition to any other amounts previously appropriated for these purposes; provided, that the amounts specified for a particular project may be adjusted in order to facilitate projects authorized in this act.
For costs associated with initiatives, projects and expenditures to replace or make improvements to the quality, consistency, efficiency and delivery of any Chapter 74 program or regional school for the benefit of the public school students in Chapter 74 programs and regional school districts and their preparation for post secondary and career opportunities.…………….……………………………………….…………. $3,000,000,000
SECTION 2. Section 21C of chapter 59 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding after subsection (n) the following new subsection:-
(o) The local appropriating authority may, by accepting this paragraph, provide that taxes may thereafter be assessed in excess of the amount otherwise allowed by this section, solely for payment, in whole or in part, of Regional Vocational school debt service charges that the school board responsible for determining the debt service charges certifies were not in fiscal year two thousand and twenty paid by local taxes.
SECTION 3. Chapter 69 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following four sections:-
Section 37. For the purposes of sections 38 through 42, inclusive, the following terms shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:-
“Career technical education” or “CTE”, shall have the same meaning as vocational-technical education as defined in section 1 of chapter 74.
“Office”, the office of career technical education.
Section 38. There shall be established within the department of elementary and secondary education an office of career technical education, which shall be under the supervision and management of the deputy commissioner of career technical education. The deputy commissioner shall be appointed by the commissioner of elementary and secondary education, with the approval of the board. It shall be the duty of the deputy commissioner to improve and maximize career technical education throughout the commonwealth, and to collaborate with the board to promulgate regulations and develop and implement polices to enhance all career technical education programs in the commonwealth, including but not limited to ensuring the enforcement of regulations relative to certificates of occupational proficiency.
Section 39. The office, established pursuant to section 38 of this chapter, shall promote and support with available resources innovative and collaborative career technical education demonstration programs in which students split time between their comprehensive high school and a school offering said programs pursuant to chapter 74. Under said programs, participating students shall take required academic classes in the morning and vocational courses in the afternoon when the equipment is available.
Section 40. (a) The office, established pursuant to section 38 of this chapter, shall develop credentials for students graduating from high quality CTE programs in applied knowledge, effective relationships, and workplace skills as described in the federal Employability Skills Framework.
(b) The office shall ensure instructional ability and competence of CTE instructors through the utilization of occupational advisory boards and nationally validated teacher competency testing.
(c)The office shall utilize both pre- and post-technical assessment in both cognitive and psychomotor domains to determine what students know and are able to do.
(d) The office shall collaborate with recognized industry credential providers to develop state-customized credentials to measure career readiness through skill assessments appropriate to each tier of CTE.
(e) The office shall consider the use of the 21st Century Skills for Workplace Success Credential, which validates overall workplace readiness skills and is aligned to the Employability Skills Framework of the federal Office of Career and Technical Adult Education. This credential may be utilized to validate basic competencies before participation in externships or school-based enterprises, and it may be utilized with state one-stop career centers or as a graduation or completion requirement for post-graduate and post-secondary chapter 74 programs.
(f) The office shall support the use of Industry Recognized Credentials, known as IRCs, in chapter 74 programs.
(g) The office shall support the use of both longitudinal and pre- and post-student assessment as a means of obtaining meaningful data for curricular improvement. Data may be utilized for facilities improvement, equipment investments, mission success, and professional development.
(h) The office shall engage in statewide data sharing agreements with credential providers that include a variety of access portals for a variety of levels of personnel, including but not limited to state and local CTE administration, CTE teachers, parents, and students, giving access to stakeholders to assess program effectiveness.
(i) The office shall encourage and work to increase the use of articulation agreements with community colleges and public universities and other dual credit programs to allow CTE students to earn credit and stacked credentials that lead to an associate degree.
(j) The office shall implement and promote efforts, including those related to student outreach and retention, to ensure that CTE programs are accessible to all students, including English language learners, students with disabilities, and student populations traditionally underrepresented in CTE programs.
SECTION 4. Chapter 70 of the General Laws, as most recently amended by chapter 132 of the Acts of 2019, is hereby further amended by inserting the following new section:-
Section 10A. Expansion Grants for Regional Vocational Schools
(a) In addition to the funding otherwise provided pursuant to this chapter, any regional or county vocational or agricultural school shall, subject to appropriation, receive a one-year expansion grant in any fiscal year in which its foundation enrollment increases by more than two percent over its foundation enrollment for the previous fiscal year.
(b) The amount of said expansion grant shall be calculated by multiplying the number of additional students in its foundation enrollment, over its foundation enrollment for the previous fiscal year, by its per-student foundation budget amount. The per-student foundation budget amount shall be calculated by dividing the district’s foundation budget amount for the current year by its foundation enrollment for the prior fiscal year.
(c) The department shall annually solicit information from all regional and county vocational and agricultural schools as needed to estimate the amounts required to fund expansion grants in the coming fiscal year for all such schools, and the department shall request appropriation of the amount required to fully fund such expansion grants.
(d) If the amount appropriated for expansion grants in a fiscal year is less than the amount required to fully fund such grants, then each eligible regional or county vocational or agricultural school shall receive a share of the appropriated funds proportional to the share that its expansion grant, calculated pursuant to subsection (b), constitutes of the total amount of expansion grants for all schools, pursuant to said subsection.
SECTION 5. Section 3A of Chapter 70B of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking the number “17” and inserting “19” in place thereof, and further by inserting, after “Fire Chiefs' Association of Massachusetts, Inc.” the following:-
“, Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators, Inc., Alliance for Vocational Technical Education Coalition,”
SECTION 6. Subsection (q) of section 16 of chapter 71 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the word “five”, and inserting in place thereof the word “fifty”.
SECTION 7. (a) There shall hereby be established a commission to be known as the CTE Funding Commission, to study funding options for career technical education, or CTE, programs. The commission shall consist of four representatives of the department of elementary and secondary education, to be appointed by the deputy commissioner of the office of career technical education, provided that one appointee shall be the secretary of education or a designee, who shall serve as chair, and three representatives of the executive office of labor and workforce development, to be appointed by the secretary of labor and workforce development. The commission shall identify the use of funds for changing market needs.
This commission shall make recommendations, which shall include but not be limited to, the following:
(1) whether the Massachusetts school building authority may spend money on equipment only, or if they are limited to funding for education structures;
(2) whether the Massachusetts school building authority should add incentives for the approved chapter 74 educational spaces in programs that align to labor market demand;
(3) how to simplify state law, particularly section 16 of chapter 71 of the General Laws, so that all regional school districts can secure bonding for critical capital projects through the district-wide referendum process outlined in subsection (n) of said section 16 of said chapter 71 of the General Laws;
(4) how to change language in subsection (d) of said section 16 of said chapter 71 of the General Laws to allow all regional school districts the option to secure project bonding approval upon a two-thirds vote of approval of each legislative body of a municipality comprising the district; and
(5) any other recommendations relative to CTE funding at the commission’s discretion.
(b) The commission shall submit a report, which shall include the findings of the study and all such recommendations and any proposed drafts of legislation, not later than one year after the effective date of this act.
SECTION 8. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, to meet the expenditures necessary in carrying out section 1, the state treasurer shall, upon receipt of a request by the governor, issue and sell bonds of the commonwealth in an amount to be specified by the governor from time to time but not exceeding, in the aggregate, $3,000,000,000. All bonds issued by the commonwealth, as aforesaid, shall be designated on their face “Commonwealth Career Technical Education Capacity Expansion Act of 2021” and shall be issued for a maximum term of years, not exceeding 30 years, as the governor may recommend to the general court pursuant to section 3 of Article LXII of the Amendments to the Constitution; provided, however, that all such bonds shall be payable not later than June 30, 2056. All interest and payments on account of principal on such obligations shall be payable from the general fund. Bonds and interest thereon issued under the authority of this section shall, notwithstanding any other provision of this act, be general obligations of the commonwealth.
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