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Since 1952
we have been the voice of private, independent schools, colleges and universities at the State House. MANSC represents members’ interests, advocates on their behalf with lawmakers, and informs members about bills that threaten their independence and economic security.

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State Representative Hannah Kane Speaks at MANSC Annual Meeting

In November 2022, Thayer Academy hosted the MANSC Annual Meeting which featured Rep. Hannah Kane (11th Worcester). Kane highlighted her diverse background by covering numerous topics spanning the inner-workings of the legislature, the economy, hiring challenges, mental health challenges, and childcare issues.

Kane shared her connections to education which are substantial, beginning with her roots as a member of a “a blended family; my father was a school administrator and my mother was a teacher” she said in a moment of levity.
As a member of the Joint Committee on Racial Equity, Civil Rights, and Inclusion, Kane was eager to speak to the issue of diversity. Specifically, she addressed the need for more women to take an active role in politics. Getting the next generation, regardless of gender, involved in particular is an uphill battle, as she cited the prevailing attitude amongst young people that “they can make a difference through social media, which is scary.”

Another topic she discussed was the failure of House and Senate leadership to pass the sweeping economic development bill before the formal sessions ended. The bill was held for further review in a conference committee. Representative Kane’s timing was apropos, as just two days later the $3.7 billion agreement passed by the state legislature and has since been signed by the outgoing Governor Baker.

Annual Meeting guests (L-R): Fred Colson, MANSC Board Member and Director of Finance for Belmont Day School; Benny Wong, VP Investment Banking MassDevelopment; Richard Saul, MANSC Board Member and Trustee at Thatcher Montesorri; Gwen Pojasek, MANSC President and Chapel Hill-Chauncey Hall CFO
MANSC Legislative Counsel John Spillane addressing the crowd
Thayer Academy Senior Isabella Rivera gave a musical performance to kick off the Annual Meeting

Breaking News: Success on Beacon Hill

We are happy to share good news on the legislative front. Several problematic bills have been blocked from advancing for this session, due in part to the efforts of MANSC, spearheaded by Legislative Counsel John J. Spillane.

Senate Bill 159 is one such bill that MANSC actively opposed. John Spillane offered testimony during a public hearing as to how this bill could threaten the rights of private schools and colleges. On 2/2/22, this bill was ordered into a study, effectively stopping it in its tracks. No other organization offer testimony on this matter.

We also have an update on SB 1325 and its House counterpart HB 2141: An act to prevent nonprofit institutions from avoiding wetlands or natural resource protections under the so-called Dover Amendment. As with SB 159, they are pieces of legislation that come up every session and once again they have been sent into study as well.

Lastly, HB 2136, which would have allowed Somerville to require institutional master plans to be approved by the city, has met a similar fate. This would have given them final authority over non-profits’ use of land and development.

There is more to come as the Committees are discussing bills, driven by the deadline of Joint Rule 10. We will bring you the latest news as it happens. 

70 Years of Serving Our Members

2022 marks 70 years of MANSC advocating on behalf of private, nonprofit, schools and colleges at the Massachusetts legislative level. During this time, we have helped turn aside countless bills that could threaten our member institutions.

To put that in perspective, here are several things that were going on in 1952.


  • Harry Truman was President of the US.
  • The US ratified a peace treaty with Japan, and The Treaty of San Francisco went into effect, formally ending the war between Japan and the Allies.
  • Elizabeth Windsor ascended the throne and was crowned Elizabeth II, Queen of The United Kingdom.
  • Long standing New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was born on April 16.
  • Philosopher, physician, theologian, organist, musicologist, writer, and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • $1 in 1952 was the equivalent of $10.49 today.
  • The inflation rate was a meager 1.92% instead of the current figure 7%.


As we uncover more about the history of MANSC, we plan to share our story with you. Thank you for your continued membership. Here’s to many more years of protecting your independence and economic security!

Legislative Update

The start of 2022 marks the midway point in the current two-year legislative cycle. Lawmakers are back to work after the holiday break, but the State House remains closed to the public. And with the current surge in COVID cases, that is unlikely to change in the near future.

Regardless, things are still moving forward on virtual-Beacon Hill: Public hearings have been held virtually, as have committee meetings and other essential activities.

If it appears that not much has happened with but a few bills, that is merely a function of where we are in the legislative cycle. Action should pick up as we near the third Wednesday in February, a deadline under Joint Rule 10 for referring bills to joint committees.

Education may not get the attention that the budget or pandemic response has garnered, but there are still many bills alive which could impact our member institutions.

Legislative Counsel John J. Spillane continues to be an invaluable resource, actively advocating on your behalf with legislators, and in some cases submitting testimony.

MANSC is tracking 168 pieces of legislation at the moment. Among them are:

  • House Bill 538 - This establishes a trust fund to distribute funds to districts for carbon monoxide safety equipment. It only applies to public schools currently, but this could change. This bill was reported favorably in the joint committee.
  • HB540 - An act to prevent concussion and head injury, which has been ordered into a 3rd reading.
  • HB610 - An Act requiring instruction in CPR and the use of defibrillators for high school graduation, also set for a 3rd reading.
  • HB653 - Similar to HB538, this requires schools to submit CO safety plans for approval and has been in the Ways & Means Committee since the summer.
  • Senate Bill 159 - This bill seeks to erode protections our member institutions have been granted via the Dover Amendment. Currently still in committee. MANSC is strongly opposed to this legislation and has submitted testimony against it.
  • SB332 - Adds additional language to HB653, mentioned above.
  • SB299 - An act to establish food allergy plans. While not as insidious as Dover or PILOT related legislation, it does impact private schools/day programs who have students with life threatening allergies, requiring them to maintain Food Allergy Management and Prevention Plans.

2021 Annual Meeting Recap


Our 2021 Annual Meeting is now available on video for those who were not able to attend. Senator Adam Hinds, who is also a candidate for Lieutenant Governor, delivered an informative keynote address, which covered topics ranging from the new Reimagining Massachusetts Post-Pandemic Resiliency to rural school funding and more.

We look forward to bringing you more interactive events, which give our members a direct channel to the Commonwealth's leadership. Future events will be announced on our website and social media outlets.

Upcoming Hearings of Note

10/13/2021 - Public Hearing, Virtual Hearing - 11:00 AM

Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security

HB2425 An Act to require seat belts on school buses

SB1569 An Act relative to seatbelts on school buses

SB1572 An Act relative to seat belts on school buses

SB1632 An Act relative to the safety of children in school buses

10/13/2021 - Public Hearing, Virtual Hearing - 1:00 PM

Joint Committee on Advanced Information Technology, the Internet and Cybersecurity

HB105 An Act reducing non-ionizing radiation such as wireless from early to higher education

HB106 An Act regulating screen time in early and K-12 education

HB10 An Act regulating privacy and technology in education

HB115 An Act relative to best management practices for wireless in schools and public institutions of higher education

HB136 An Act relative to data privacy

10/14/2021 - Public Hearing, Virtual Hearing - 10:00 AM

Joint Committee on Transportation

HB3495 An Act relative to bicycle safety

10/18/2021 - Public Hearing, Virtual Hearing - 11:00 AM

Joint Committee on Education

HB127 An Act relative to student and educator data privacy

HB591 An Act relative to wages for substitute teacher

SB290 An Act to prioritize violence prevention and social emotional health in school support staff hiring


An Overview
MANSC on Beacon Hill

MANSC members and guests got an insider’s look at the new Massachusetts legislative session recently from the organization’s veteran legislative counsel, John J. Spillane. 

Speaking at a board-sponsored informational meeting at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School, Spillane also outlined his work at the Statehouse, advocating for the interests of Massachusetts nonprofit schools, colleges and universities. 

“Even the best-intentioned bills may have serious financial implications or erode the historic independence of our institutions,” Spillane said.  “I represent the interests of MANSC members and keep them informed 

about issues of concern on Beacon Hill.  Legislators also look to me as a resource to help them understand the effects these bills will have on our institutions – and on our communities.”

The articles in this newsletter will give you an idea of how the legislature works, the trends in bills that Spillane sees and what he does at the Statehouse to represent the interests of MANSC members.

You’ll also find information about new regulations approved recently by the state Board of Higher Education regarding financial oversight of nonprofit colleges and universities.

What MANSC Does on Beacon Hill

For many years, MANSC Legislative Counsel John J. Spillane has had unparalleled success in stopping bills that would negatively affect Massachusetts nonprofit schools, colleges and universities.

He is either at the Statehouse or in close contact with legislators on a daily basis, and even spends time with them in their district visits.

Spillane tracks and follows all bills and last-minute amendments that affect MANSC members.  He monitors and attends committee hearings, prepares opposition testimony on bills of concern, confers with legislators and observes legislative sessions from the gallery.

He also keeps track of bills that apply only to public schools, because they can easily be changed to include nonprofit institutions.

Spillane works closely with AICUM and other trade organizations to develop a strategic approach to stopping bills of concern.

How the Legislature Works

The 191st session of the legislature began on January 2, 2019 and is slated to conclude January 6, 2021. In the 160-member House, there are 127 Democrats and 31 Republicans and 1 Independent; the Senate has 40 members, including 34 Democrats and 6 Republicans. John Spillane expects 5,000 to 5,500 bills will be filed.  Generally, speaking, legislators file bills:

>     In response to a problem in a district
>     Based on legislation in other states,
       policy issues, studies or white papers

Once filed, the bills are assigned to committees. After studying the issues and implications of the bills, as well as getting input at public hearings, committees either report out the bills as “ought to pass” or “ought not to pass,” or they may be put to study or discharged to other committees.

Both the House and Senate must pass a bill and agree on the final language before it is sent to the Governor for signing.  If the Governor vetoes a bill, the veto can be overridden by two-thirds 

votes in the House and Senate.

Each legislative session runs for two years and includes formal and informal sessions.  Formal sessions run from January through the end of July and deal with bills that have been vetted by committees.  The informal sessions run from August through December 31.  Bills may still be voted on in the informal session but require unanimous approval to pass.

Discussions on the state budget typically begin in the spring, but this year the COVID-19 Pandemic has delayed passing of the budget. Both the House and Senate create and vote on budgets, which then go to a Conference Committee to iron out the differences between the two versions.

Our legislative counsel closely monitors the lengthy and complex budget process every year because of the financial implications the state budget may have for nonprofit education, and also because failed bills may be tacked onto the budget as last-minute amendments.

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