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Archive for the ‘MA state budget’ Category

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

On July 31, 2019, Governor Charlie Baker signed the FY20 state budget into law. The new budget includes good news for early education and care, so please take a minute to thank the governor and members of the Legislature.

The governor did not veto any spending, preserving the $43.3 billion conference committee budget which was passed by the Legislature on July 22, 2019.

This year’s budget was bolstered by increased tax collections, and it includes a plan to control pharmaceutical drug costs, according to State House News Service.

The FY20 budget for early education and care represents continued progress and investment. This is the seventh consecutive budget since the historic spending low-point of FY13 that increases investments in young children, families, and early educators. It is the second year in a row that state investment has exceeded the pre-recession high-point of investment in FY09.

The FY20 budget also includes a $20 million rate increase for early educator salaries, $5 million in preschool grants through the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative, and $5 million in workforce development grants to community colleges. 

We’ve posted a complete list of early education line items as well as a Department of Early Education and Care funding trends chart  that covers fiscal years 2009 to 2020. 

So please let Governor Baker and your state legislators know that you appreciate them for investing in high-quality early education in this year’s state budget. 

For more information, contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org or (617) 330-7387.

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

After weeks of delay, the six-member conference committee has released a fiscal year 2020, $43.1 billion state budget for Massachusetts.

The budget was bolstered by increased tax collections, and it includes a plan to control pharmaceutical drug costs, according to the State House News Service.

Where the House and Senate differ on the allocations for early education and care line items, this budget includes the higher funding amounts. This includes a $20 million rate increase (from the House budget), $5 million in preschool grants (from the Senate budget), and $5 million in workforce development grants (from the House). 

The Legislature passed the budget on Monday, July 22. Governor Baker now has 10 days to sign the budget into law. He can also make line item vetoes. 

For more information contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org, (617) 330-7387.

For updates and a complete list of early education line items, visit Strategies’ state budget webpage.

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

“In 2017, Raya Kirby of North Adams discussed the difficulty of affording care for her newborn while working as a master’s level clinical social worker. Raya had to return to work 12 weeks after giving birth in order to support her family, but this was difficult given that the cost of childcare was ‘astronomical’ and there was a long waitlist for child care vouchers.”

Jill Ashton shared this story a few weeks ago at the State House hearing on early education and care.  Ashton is the executive director of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, an independent state agency that gathers information on women and makes policy recommendations.

Two other stories that Ashton shared at the hearing are:

“In 2018, Ana Saravia of Barnstable spoke to the Commission about her struggle in trying to afford childcare as a single mother of four children, one of whom is autistic. She was forced to relocate due to financial constraints, which were compounded by the high costs of childcare.”

And: (more…)

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Jessica Merrill, Titus DosRemedios, Kelly Savarese, Dawn DiStefano, Nicole Penney, Kim Davenport, Grace Cruz, Efrain Ponce Hamlet, Amy O’Leary, Clifford Kwong, Lisa Van Thiel. Photo courtesy of Kim Davenport.

Last week, there was a standing-room-only hearing at the Massachusetts State House where parents, teachers, and advocates called on elected officials to increase access to high-quality, affordable child care, expand preschool, increase educator salaries, and other priorities.

“Right now many parents struggle to access affordable childcare, and they often choose to stay home to avoid expensive daycare,” WWLP.com reports on the issues covered at the hearing, adding:

“Expanding full-day preschool would give parents the option of going back to work on a part-time or full-time basis.”

The multi-generational impact of having more preschool programs for children that would make it easier for parents to go work would be hugely beneficial for Massachusetts. This could be accomplished by a number of bills that were discussed at the hearing including: (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

On Thursday, May 23, 2019, the Massachusetts Senate passed a $42.8 billion state budget for fiscal year 2020. This includes $74 million in amendments.

“The Senate voted 40-0 around 10:30 p.m. Thursday to adopt the spending plan, which was amended over the course of three days of debate in the Senate Chamber,” according to a State House News Service story.

During debate, most amendments for early education and care were either withdrawn or voted down. Among these amendments were proposals for an early educator rate increase and for preschool expansion grant funding. The amendments that did pass totaled $2.6 million, and they added small amounts of funding for specific programs – East End House in Cambridge, Community Action Agency of Somerville, Square One in Springfield, Nurtury in Boston, Jumpstart, and Parent-Child Home Program – as well as funding for statewide resource and referral agencies [Access Management, 3000-2000].

The final Senate budget provides $16.6 million less for early education than the House budget.

To reconcile the differences between House and Senate budgets, a six-member conference committee will begin negotiations soon. Check back for advocacy opportunities.

For a complete list of early education line items, click here.

For more information contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org, (617) 330-7387.

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means released a $42.7 billion state budget proposal for fiscal year 2020.

Compared to FY19 levels, the Senate’s budget makes modest increases in funding for early education and care. But overall, this budget allocates less for early childhood than both Governor Charlie Baker’s budget and the House budget.

Most notably, the Senate proposal does not include:

• a rate increase for early educators [3000-1042]

• grant funding for community colleges to run early educator workforce development programs [3000-7066], and

• funding for Reach Out and Read [3000-7070]

The Senate budget does include $5 million for preschool grants under the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative [3000-6025]. This critical funding would allow the Department of Early Education and Care to continue some of its preschool expansion activities in FY20, but this allocation falls short of Strategies for Children’s recommendation of $25 million. That is the amount needed to maintain support for preschool programs that have expiring federal grants, sustain state-funded preschool grants that have just begun in six communities this spring, and offer grants to additional communities.

Senators have until Friday to file budget amendments, so check back for updates.

Click here for a complete list of the Senate’s proposed early education budget line items.

And for more information, contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org, (617) 330-7387.

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

The Massachusetts state budget process is underway, so it’s time to advocate for early education and care.

So far, Governor Charlie Baker has filed his FY20 budget proposal.

The House has also debated and passed its budget. And while the House budget includes an important investment in early educator salaries, through a $20 million rate reserve, it does not include any funding for preschool expansion grants. This could have been addressed by a $15 million amendment filed by Rep. Jay Livingstone (D-Boston) that would have funded the state’s Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative. But ultimately, this amendment was not included in the education and local aid amendment that did pass.

Here’s the recent funding history:

Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative (3000-6025)
FY19 Final budget: $5,000,000
FY20 Governor’s budget: $2,500,000
FY20 House budget: not funded
FY20 Senate budget: TBD (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

Strategies for Children has just published a new policy brief, “Local Governance for Early Childhood: Lessons from Leading States.” It contains some of the new knowledge that we’ve learned from our work with communities.

What is local governance? Well, think of the K-12 system, which is organized around local school districts, with budgets, programming, and other decisions made by school committees and superintendents. In the birth-to-5 sector, there are no school committees or superintendents. What we have instead, in any given community, is a patchwork of independent programs and services.

Or as Vivian Terkel-Gat, our UMass Boston intern and the author of the policy brief, writes, “Local early education governance is essential for creating a coordinated, early care and education structure.” This helps communities take responsibility for creating shared goals and achieving better results for children. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, the House Committee on Ways and Means released a $42.7 billion state budget for fiscal year 2020. In his letter to members, Chairman Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston) highlighted investments in early education.

“Under the leadership of Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Massachusetts has prioritized the field of early education and care, investing in both access and quality,” Michlewitz wrote. “This budget continues these historic investments, including another $20 million rate reserve for early educators, which will help to raise salaries allowing education providers to recruit and retain high quality staff. This funding ensures Massachusetts’s youngest residents will receive the best possible care from experienced teachers during their most formative years.” (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

Early education programs across Massachusetts have used federal Preschool Expansion Grants (PEG) to add more seats and serve more than 800 additional children annually. But now these programs – located in Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, and Springfield — face a tough question: What happens next year after their PEG grants run out?

Boston is taking proactive steps. Mayor Marty Walsh has announced a plan to invest $15 million over five years to ensure high-quality pre-K for all 4-year-olds in the city.

In other communities, PEG grants have had a great deal of local success. The grants have supported some of the highest quality preschool classrooms in the state.

These benefits were highlighted yesterday, at a meeting of the Board of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) where researchers from Abt Associates summarized the most recent PEG program evaluations. A video of the Board meeting is posted here. It starts at 34:32. (more…)

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