Jones, Haggerty secure $100,000 in FY25 House budget for two Reading initiatives

BOSTON – House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) and State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) recently secured $100,000 in state funding earmarks in the Fiscal Year 2025 House budget to support two Reading initiatives.

During the three-day House budget debate, which took place from April 24-26, Jones and Haggerty successfully advocated for the adoption of two Reading-specific amendments they filed on the town’s behalf to provide funding for the Bare Meadow stewardship project and to support student learning at Reading Memorial High School. The House engrossed its budget by a vote of 153-4 on April 26.

The proposed House budget allocates $50,000 for Bare Meadow, a 125-acre site of forests, fields and wetlands that maintains diverse habitat and ecosystems, plant and wildlife species, as well as connections to neighborhoods and open space resources. The Reading Conservation Commission recently partnered with the Massachusetts Audubon Society to evaluate and recommend priority actions to restore the Bare Meadow Conservation Area to its historical and natural habitat, and this state funding will help to further those efforts.

An additional $50,000 is earmarked for Reading Memorial High School for the purchase of the Anatomage Table 10 software for anatomy and physiology education. The software provides the most advanced 3D anatomy visualization and virtual dissection tool, allowing students to virtually dissect and conduct autopsies on a 3D cadaver and investigate the inner workings of the human body.

“This year’s budget cycle is taking place against a backdrop of months of declining state revenues, with next year’s budget expected to be even more fiscally challenging,” said Representative Jones. “Our cities and towns are certainly not immune from these trends and are facing the same challenges to balance their municipal budgets, which is why I am pleased to have been able to work with Representative Haggerty to secure preliminary approval to help fund Reading’s top local priorities in the House budget. We will continue to advocate on the town’s behalf to ensure that these critical earmarks are retained in the final state budget that reaches the Governor’s desk.”

“This fiscally responsible budget addresses the most pressing needs facing our communities, reflects our values by further investing in education and infrastructure, as well as making sure the Commonwealth and its residents can continue to compete in an ever-evolving economic landscape,” said Representative Haggerty. “I am pleased that Reading will directly benefit from the funding allocated for improvements and investments in the Bare Meadow Conservation Area, Anatomage Table 10 software for anatomy and physiology education at Reading Memorial High School, and the allocation of money for free school meals for our students. I was happy to work with Representative Jones in securing this funding for Reading’s local initiatives in the House budget and will remain committed in advocating for these important earmarks in the final state budget.”

The budget now heads to the Senate, which is expected to debate its own version of the general appropriations bill the week of May 20. The differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget will be worked out by a six-member conference committee, which will produce a final compromise spending plan to send to Governor Maura Healey for her review and signature.

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