Last week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a $32.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2013 that includes $487.61 million for the Department of Early Education and Care. The budget process now moves to the Senate. The Senate Committee on Ways and Means is expected to release its budget recommendations during the week of May 14, with Senate debate taking place during the week of May 21.
The budget approved by the House:
- Funds the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) at $487 million, compared with $495 million in FY12.
- Level funds the Universal Pre-Kindergarten program at $7.5 million.
- Amends language in the Universal Pre-Kindergarten grant line item to incorporate the Quality Rating and Improvement System.
- Increases funds for Head Start to $8 million, up from $7.5 million in FY12.
- Level funds early childhood mental health consultation services in early education and care programs at $750,000.
- Reduces funding for overall child care subsidies by $8 million from FY12 levels
- Increases funding for the full-day kindergarten grant program administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to $24.95 million, a $2 million increase over FY12 appropriations.
- Level funds the Massachusetts State Scholarship Program (which includes the Early Childhood Educators Scholarship) at $87.6 million.
- Includes the Parent-Child Home Program by name in EEC’s services for infants and parents line item.
- Does not fund the early literacy initiative for family child care providers that Governor Patrick included in his proposed Gateway Cities Education Agenda.
- Does not fund a rate increase for early education and care providers serving subsidized children.
Visit our FY13 budget webpage for more details on individual line items.
As we have seen with the House budget, the state’s ongoing fiscal crisis makes the budget process for FY13 challenging. Yet the importance of investing in the commonwealth’s children — to ensure they have access to high-quality early education and become proficient readers by the end of third grade — remains as urgent as ever.
Massachusetts readers, click here to send an email to your state senator urging him/her to prioritize funding for children and families in the FY13 budget.