State senate restores money to GCC, sheriff’s dept.

  • The Greenfield Community College main campus building. Recorder file photo

Recorder Staff
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

GREENFIELD — Following funding cuts by the governor’s office back in July, the state Senate Tuesday brought back $230,000 to Franklin County in education funds for this year’s budget, assisting Greenfield Community College, and the Franklin County Sheriff’s training active bystanders program, run by the Quabbin Mediation.

The Senate voted to restore $130,000 to GCC for two of its initiatives — the college’s farm and food systems pilot program and its partnership programs down in Northampton and Amherst.

“I’m thrilled that once again our local delegation led the way in the efforts for Greenfield Community College and for the educational needs of Franklin and Hampshire counties,” GCC President Bob Pura said.

With this money, the farm and food systems pilot program will be able to get more off the ground and running, Pura said. The program will get $75,000 to help it develop around the goal of sustainable energy and agriculture.

“It’s about sustainable agriculture in an agricultural community,” Pura said. “It’s a great fit for us and this community, to help us think about sustainable processes and systems for a much more localized and robust farm-to-food structure.”

The college plans on developing its 1-acre plot on its lower field for agricultural purposes, so that it can act as a teaching tool for its students taking classes in this program.

The other $55,000 of the money the college is receiving from the state will go to its educational programs in Hampshire County.

One element the restored funding will specifically help is with a partnership with Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton. GCC is working on creating a pipeline between itself, Smith Vocational, Westfield College and Cooley Dickinson Hospital to help nursing students find jobs after their training.

“The possibilities in Hampshire County are exciting and are meaningful to the students who will have access to more community college programs than they already have,” Pura said.

In addition the state put back $100,000 to the budget for the Franklin County Sheriff’s training active bystanders program, run by the Quabbin Mediation.

“Funding for these programs are services benefits the residents of the Pioneer Valley in numerous ways,” Senate President Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst, said in a press release. “From students in college to children in DCF care, to addressing our homeless population, restoring these funds provides much-needed resources to our education system, law enforcement, and social services organizations.”

Previously, the senate also restored $250,000 prior funding cuts.

The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office was allotted $75,000 for its juvenile fire-setter intervention and prevention program, known as “NoFIRES.” The program educates children in the care of the state’s Department of Children and Families and the Department of Mental Health.

Additionally, $85,000 was given back to the Middle Skills Manufacturing Initiative In Franklin and Hampshire County, for the precision manufacturing training program. The United Way of Pioneer Valley received $125,000 on behalf of the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness.