Legislators announce passage of local education bill in Westborough

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Region – State representatives Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury), Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough), Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston) and Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) announced passage of legislation relative to Westborough Public Schools’ Bridging Over Right Opportunities (BORO) Program.

The legislation, which was passed by the Massachusetts Legislature and recently signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker, was filed as a Home Rule Petition by Representative Kane and jointly sponsored by representatives Dykema and Gregoire and Senator Eldridge. Prior to that, it was introduced by Westborough Public Schools Superintendent Amber Bock and the Westborough School Committee, and received an official vote of overwhelming support at Westborough’s Oct. 18, 2017 Town Meeting.

“This project encompasses the best practices of so many educational goals. It focuses on program innovation and cost-effective outcomes, while it was forged through team collaboration across multiple community organizations. Our state legislators seamlessly took this project vision of a viable business to anchor the job training of our students, and collaborated on getting us established with amazing speed,” Bock said. “The BORO now has the accounting structures it requires to develop a full business experience to contribute to the Westborough community. We feel fortunate to work with such invested and collaborative legislators.”

The new law, which pertains to Westborough’s adult transition program for ages 18-22 complex learners, allows for Westborough to establish a school learning lab training site in the form of the Sugar Shack candy shop. The legislation authorizes the creation of a revolving fund so that income derived from the purchase and sale of Sugar Shack products, and expenditures necessary for the purpose of the program, may be made through this vocational-technical program.

“I am proud to have filed this legislation with my colleagues, representatives Gregoire and Dykema and Senator Eldridge on behalf of the town of Westborough,” Kane stated. “The BORO Program and the Sugar Shack, in particular, is an innovative and thoughtful means to fulfill the educational and vocational requirements of the adult transition program. I look forward to further supporting our schools and students, and shopping at The Sugar Shack this fall in its convenient downtown location.”

“The BORO program recognizes the need to provide job skills and valuable experience to students with complex learning needs out of our school system,” said Dykema. “Congratulations to the Westborough schools for championing creative initiatives like the Sugar Shack to ensure that our community continues to lead the way in quality vocational education.”

“This program is a groundbreaking educational opportunity for Westborough’s students and it will serve as a model program for other school districts,” added Gregoire.

First filed in October 2017, the bill was signed into law by the governor March 8 as Chapter 41 of the Acts of 2018.