As a Representative, Bill has been a strong advocate for public education in Massachusetts. He was there to vote in favor of the 1993 Education Reform Law which now brings over a billion dollars a year in state assistance to our schools in Massachusetts. In Fairhaven, for example, annual state funding for schools has climbed from $3 million a year in the early 1990′s to approximately $6 million a year today. Unless this funding is provided, the costs would ultimately be borne by increases in local property taxes.
Bill also stood with his colleagues in protecting UMass Dartmouth as a full university for our region. The school was threatened in 2003 after a consultant’s proposal supported by Mitt Romney would have eliminated several academic programs from the Dartmouth campus.
A major part of the state’s obligation to our schools is protecting the School Building Program for our towns and local taxpayers. In May, 2004 Bill voted for a major reform for this program, obligating a penny of the existing sales tax in Massachusetts to school construction. This stable source of funding allows for the elimination of the waiting list within three years, thus protecting the taxpayers of Marion, Mattapoisett, Rochester from added expenses for the completed regional projects at the Old Rochester Regional High School and the elementary schools in Mattapoisett. The new plan also means the East Fairhaven Elementary school project will now be reached in Fiscal Year 2008 instead of languishing for years.
Bill has been a vocal advocate to maintain adequate funding for school transportation, special education and the school nurse program.