The Massachusetts Senate begins debating the fiscal year 2013 state budget this week. Several amendments to the Senate Ways and Means Committee’s budget proposal restore funding for critical early education and care items:
Amendment 361 (Senator Katherine Clark, D-Melrose )
Third Grade Reading Proficiency — Almost 40% of third graders read below grade level. Research indicates that 74% of them will continue to struggle in school. Ensuring that children read proficiently by the end of third grade will help close the achievement gap. This amendment would establish an Early Literacy Expert Panel to provide ongoing recommendations to the state’s three education departments and the Executive Office of Education.
Amendment 379 (Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, D-Boston) and 324 (Senator William Brownsberger, D-Belmont)
Full-Day Kindergarten — Prevents cuts to full-day kindergarten grants by matching House funding level of $24.95 million.
Amendment 369 (Senator Sal DiDomenico, D-Everett)
Universal Pre-Kindergarten — Increases funding for UPK by $500,000, to further help programs sustain and improve their quality.
Amendment 347 (Senator Gale Candaras, D-Wilbraham)
Income Eligible Child Care — Restores $500,000 in cuts to match the House funding level.
Amendment 366 (Senator Sal DiDomenico, D-Everett)
Supportive Child Care — Restores $720,000 in cuts to match the House funding level.
Amendment 391 (Senator John Keenan, D-Quincy)
Mental Health — Increases funding for early childhood mental health consultation services from $750,000 to $1,000,000.
Amendment 674 (Senator John Keenan, D-Quincy)
Child Care Resource and Referral — Restores a $500,000 cut to the Access Management line item.
Amendment 392 (Senator John Keenan, D-Quincy)
Head Start — Increases funding for Head Start grants from $8 million to $9 million
Amendment 307 (Senator Michael Moore, D-Milbury)
Early Education and Care Rate Reserve — Establishes a rate reserve of $25 million for early education and care providers.
Amendment 352 (Senator Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield)
Gateway Cities Early Literacy — Provides early literacy professional development for early educators in family child care programs.
Amendment 332 (Senator James Welch, D-West Springfield)
Higher Education Scholarships — Adds $4.4 million to the Massachusetts State Scholarship line item, which funds the Early Childhood Educators Scholarship.
Massachusetts readers, click here to send a message to your state senator urging him/her to support early education amendments during the budget debate. Click here for more information on the FY13 Massachusetts state budget.