by inserting after section ___ the following sections:-
"SECTION ___. 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 vocational-technical education programs and regional vocational-technical 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 vocational-technical education programs and regional vocational-technical 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 high school students in Chapter 74 programs and regional school districts and their preparation for post-secondary and career opportunities.……….………………$3,000,000,000
SECTION ___. Section 10 of Chapter 70B of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2020 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following new subsection:
(d) Notwithstanding any state law, state regulation or agency policy to the contrary, the authority shall be authorized and directed to add twenty (20) percentage points to the project reimbursement rates for regional vocational-technical high school and county, regional and independent agricultural high school construction so that reimbursement rates for such projects are not less than 75% nor more than 90% of the eligible costs. Further, the authority shall add five (5) percentage points to the reimbursement rate for any project that includes state-approved vocational-technical education programs as defined in Chapter 74 of the General Laws aligned with priorities specifically identified in the Regional Labor Market Blueprint for the region in which the school is located. However, additional percentage points shall not be awarded unless the school currently offers five (5) or more Chapter 74 programs. In no case shall the total reimbursement for a project exceed 90% of eligible costs.
Funds for this Section shall come from revenue generated by the Fair Share Amendment passed by voters in November of 2022 and which amended Article XLIV of the Massachusetts Constitution.
SECTION ___. Section 21C of Chapter 59 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2020 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 debt service charges incurred for the construction of a regional-vocational technical high school that the school board responsible for determining the debt service charges certifies were not in fiscal year two thousand and twenty-one paid by local taxes.
SECTION ___. Chapter 69 of the Massachusetts General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
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:-
“Office”, shall mean the office of vocational-technical education.
“District of residence”, shall mean the school district of the city or town where a student resides.
“School of residence”, shall mean the middle school or junior high school a student attends within their district of residence.
Section 38. (a) There is hereby established within the department of elementary and secondary education an office of vocational-technical education whose purpose is to develop and implement policies and promulgate regulations to promote, enhance, and expand vocational-technical education programs, as defined in Chapter 74 of the General Laws, in the commonwealth.
(b) The office shall:
(i) oversee all Chapter 74 approved programs and ensure compliance with M.G.L. Chapter 74 and related regulations;
(ii) establish a statewide marketing campaign to promote the success of vocational-technical education and careers in Massachusetts and to raise the level of awareness and understanding of such education among parents, students, businesses, labor unions, and the general public;
(iii) work to increase awareness of vocational-technical education and career opportunities among students in elementary schools, junior high schools, and middle schools;
(iv) ensure that schools offering Chapter 74 programs are provided reasonable access during the school day at schools of residence to meet with all students and distribute information about vocational-technical education and careers to said students, including English language learners, students with disabilities, students of color, and other student populations, to ensure that such information is provided equitably to all learners;
(v) ensure that schools offering Chapter 74 programs are given the opportunity during the school day to host middle school tours, with transportation costs paid by the school hosting the tour, for all middle school students in member communities, including English language learners, students with disabilities, students of color, and other student populations to ensure that such opportunities are provided equitably to all learners; and further ensure that the school of residence may not count middle school student tours of vocational schools or programs during the school day as unexcused absences if the vocational school or program confirms the student's participation, and may not unreasonably withhold student access to tours of vocational schools and programs during the school day.
(vi) require that schools offering Chapter 74 programs are given the opportunity to provide middle and junior high school students with information about vocational-technical programs and careers through mail and email.
(vii) require all middle schools and junior high schools in member communities to establish and implement a Chapter 74 Access Policy, in accordance with state requirements promoting equitable access to Chapter 74 programs, outlining specific ways in which the middle schools will collaborate with regional vocational-technical high schools and agricultural high schools to:
(a) provide staff members from Chapter 74 schools with direct school day access to all middle school students, to inform them about opportunities in vocational-technical and agricultural education and to distribute materials about such opportunities to them;
(b) provide all middle school students an opportunity to tour, during regular middle school hours, the regional vocational-technical high school and/or county agricultural school of which the middle school’s city or town is a member, with the transportation costs of all such tours being borne by the school hosting the tours;
(c) provide contact information for all seventh-grade and eighth-grade middle school students, including a student’s name and mailing address, a student’s personal email address, and the parent’s/guardian’s email address by October 15 of each school year;
(viii) establish, in addition to the minimum requirements outlined in the preceding subsections, such additional requirements for Chapter 74 Access Policies as the office deems reasonable and necessary to promote equitable access by all students to information about vocational-technical and agricultural education;
(ix) require all sending school districts which are members of a regional-vocational school district or whose community is located in the county or district of an agricultural high school to:
(a) submit the Chapter 74 Access Policy annually to the office;
(b) annually attest in writing that the Chapter 74 Access Policy is being implemented equitably and that all students are being provided with information, access, and tours in accordance with this section and with federal and state civil rights laws, regulations, and policies;
(c) post the Chapter 74 Access Policy on its district website and provide written copies to students and parents, upon request;
(x) create a mechanism to enforce timely implementation of Chapter 74 Access Policies;
(xi) establish a system to ensure that students who live in communities that are not members of or affiliated with a regional vocational-technical high school district or agricultural high school annually are provided with information about their high school options, including their option to seek an education in a vocational-technical or agricultural high school;
(xii) support the attainment of Industry Recognized Credentials in Chapter 74 programs;
(xiii) 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;
(xiv) encourage and work to increase the use of articulation agreements with community colleges and public universities and other dual credit programs to allow vocational-technical students to earn credit leading to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree;
(xv) provide technical support to schools seeking to offer Chapter 74 programs that meet regional labor market demands and do not duplicate existing programs in the region;
(xvi) support the continuation of state grant programs that provide funding for equipment purchases and facility expansion; and
(xvii) support the continuation of demonstration programs that provide opportunities in vocational-technical education for students unable to secure a seat in an approved Chapter 74 program due to lack of enrollment capacity.
SECTION ___. Section 3A of Chapter 70B of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2020 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,”
SECTION ___. Chapter 70 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting the following new section: --
Section 10A. Expansion Grants for Regional Vocational-Technical 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 ___. 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 Vocational-Technical Education Expansion Act of 2023, 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, 2057. 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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