WESTFORD — Massachusetts lawmakers have approved the state’s annual budget one month after their original deadline. The $56 billion spending bill, which now must be signed by Gov. Maura Healy, contains only a few items for Westford.
Here are a number of items that made the final cut that benefit the town and its residents directly:
- Free school lunch: a pandemic-era program that provided school meals free of charge to all students has been extended for another academic year. The budget includes $171.5 million to require public schools to provide universal school meals to “all students at no charge.”
- New playground: $100,000 has been approved for the construction of a new playground at Nabnasset Elementary School.
- Free community college: The budget includes $38 million to offer free community college to students 25 and over, beginning this fall.
- Chapter 70 funding: Chapter 70 funding is provided as aid for municipalities for public elementary and secondary schools. The deal includes Over $17.8 million in Chapter 70 funding for Westford, with an additional $2.5 million in unrestricted government aid.
The bill also includes additional funding for the state’s insurance program, MassHealth.
The legislature passed its deal on July 31 and sent the bill to Gov. Maura Healey’s desk for approval. She has 10 days from when the bill reaches her desk to sign the bill and veto line items.