Guest Column: Metco & Suburban School Leaders, Parents, Bring ‘Advocacy Day’ With State Legislators to Suburbs

METCO representatives, school leaders, educators, students, parents, and community representatives joined together to urge state legislators to fully fund METCO at $33 million at the METCO METROWEST North Advocacy Day in Concord on May 3. Akil Mondesir, METCO Director, Bedford Public Schools, was there along with State Senator Michael Barrett, who represents Bedford. Courtesy photo

Submitted by METCO, Inc. Headquarters:

Note: As The Bedford Citizen goes to press, METCO, Inc. is appealing to supporters to call their State Senators urging them to support Amendment #635 to the state budget to fully fund METCO at $33 million and include language to allow spending through Dec. 31, 2025. ( 

These funds provide support to all 37 of METCO’s partner school districts. The funds are urgently needed to meet soaring transportation and special education costs; to support student services and close achievement gaps; and to deepen racial equity and integration work. 

METCO thanks its “METCO Senate Champions” Liz Miranda and Jason Lewis who filed the amendment and “House Champions” Rep. David Linsky and Rep. Christopher Worrell, as well as Sen. Michael Barrett, who represents Bedford and spoke at the recent METCO Advocacy Day in Concord.

Faced with a second year of proposed level-funding, METCO directors and suburban school superintendents, along with educators, students, parents, community residents, and alumni, are bringing a strong appeal for a desperately-needed state funding increase to the school integration program, meeting with legislators on their home turf.

In meetings with legislators in the suburban districts served by METCO, advocates are asking lawmakers to fully fund METCO at its current ask of $33 million that includes a $3.6 million funding increase. That $3.6 million boost is only one-third of one percent of the $1.3 billion projected revenue from the Fair Share Amendment (Millionaire’s Tax) that is designated to support education and transportation, the two areas that METCO addresses.

That METCO budget increase is essential for METCO to meet inflationary pressures from skyrocketing transportation costs and rising special education costs at the district level; to support student services and close achievement gaps; and to deepen racial equity and integration work through the METCO 2.0 initiative. 

Akil Mondesir, METCO Director, Bedford Public Schools, (far right) joins fellow METCO directors, public school leaders, educators, students, and community representatives at the May 3 METCO MetroWest North Advocacy Day. From left to right are Dr. Andrew Stephens, Superintendent/Principal, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional District; Darnell Billings, METCO Board Chair; Damen Kelton, METCO Director, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School; and Mondesir. Courtesy photo

As part of its suburban campaign, METCO and school representatives held “METCO Advocacy Day” for the MetroWest North region at the Umbrella Arts Center in Concord on May 3. METCO directors, school superintendents, school committee members, board members, parents, and other school and community leaders met with legislators and aides from Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Concord, Concord-Carlisle, Lexington, Lincoln, Lincoln-Sudbury, Sudbury, Wellesley, and Weston.     

Participating legislators included Assistant House Majority Leader Rep. Alice Hanlon Peisch (Lincoln, Wellesley, Weston); Rep. Simon Cataldo (Carlisle, Concord); Rep. Carmine Gentile (Concord, Lincoln, Sudbury, Wayland); Rep. Kenneth Gordon (Bedford, Lexington); Rep. Jamie Eldridge (Sudbury, Wayland); and Sen. Michael Barrett (Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, and Weston.)

METCO stands as a national model of voluntary school integration with METCO communities opening doors of opportunity for Boston’s urban students while providing a transformative journey of racial equity and inclusion for all students, parents, and community members. With the requested funding increase, the METCO 2.0 initiative will expand to provide every student in a METCO district with an inclusive, equitable, and anti-racist education.

A recent independent 20-year longitudinal research study shows that the METCO program boosts educational achievement and career outcomes for K-12 students.

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