BOSTON (WWLP) – A new initiative called “Building on What Works” hopes to be a competitive way to increase funding for public schools. The new proposal would allow under-performing public schools to compete for additional state funding. The proposal is backed by mayors and leaders in business and education.

They’re asking the state for $75 million so under-performing schools can compete for more state funding. The state already spends more than $7 billion each year on education. To qualify, schools must craft a plan that includes high quality early education programs, longer school days or innovative ways to teach students.

22News talked to the head of the Legislature’s Education Committee, State Representative Alice Peisch. She says it’s too early to back the initiative, but believes focusing on high-need schools is a good idea. “To be focusing on the communities that are the most in need of improving their education programs makes a lot of sense,” she said.

Many western Massachusetts communities would qualify, including Chicopee, Springfield, and Holyoke. It’s now up to the Legislature to either approve or deny the proposal.