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Framingham, MA: More $$$ for SPED services and mental health needs

May 16, 2017, (Framingham, MA) Metro West Daily News: 5 takeaways from the Senate Ways and Means budget http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/20170516/5-takeaways-from-senate-ways-and-means-budget Money for kids to attend preschool, more funding for special education and tax changes aimed at online retailers are among the budget proposals set to be released in the Senate. The Senate Committee on Ways and Means on Tuesday will unveil a $40.8 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins in July, according to its chairwoman, Sen. Karen Spilka. … Special education: School systems would receive more money for SPED services, both locally and outside of their districts. Senate leaders propose increasing funding for in-district services by changing the percentage of SPED students who are assumed to be enrolled in each school district from 3 percent to 4 percent. The budget would also increase reimbursements for out-of-district services, and provide nearly $294 million to fully fund the circuit breaker program, which helps schools pay for high-cost special education students. Mental health: New initiatives include a pilot program to increase care coordination for children with behavioral health needs and a $300,000 loan forgiveness program for mental health professionals treating children and adolescents in underserved areas. Senate leaders also propose setting aside money for police officers to receive training on how to interact with people suffering from mental illness.