The audience at the November meeting of the Massachusetts Board of Early Education and Care broke into applause when the panel approved a fiscal year 2014 budget ask of $557,509,730, which is $69.4 million above current funding levels.
Our research and field associate, Emily Levine, who attended the meeting, reports that the $69.4 million will support access, quality and the early childhood workforce, as well as transportation. Here’s a breakdown:
- An investment in quality: $15.6 million
- Workforce quality: A rate increase of 3% to support an increase in salaries, benefits and stipends for early education and care workers ($13.8 million)
- Quality Rating and Improvement System : A $1 million set-aside to support investments in QRIS and help sustain program improvements
- Quality infrastructure: $0.8 million to support staffing to hold providers accountable for health and safety, quality care and quality programs
- An investment in children and families: $36.2 million to open access for preschool-age children
- An investment in transportation: $17.6 million to affirm the board’s June vote to increase the rate paid for transportation to support system improvements and the addition of an adult monitor on all vehicles carrying infants, toddlers and preschool-age children.
In other news:
- The board approved reallocating existing FY13 Universal Pre-kindergarten (UPK) funds to increase funding for the open competitive UPK grants by $185,000, bringing the total to $985,000. The additional funds will be used to fund 45 more programs, serving 342 high-needs children, with the open competitive grant funds.
- Commissioner Mitchell Chester of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and ESE Board Chair Maura Banta joined Kristie Kauerz of the University of Washington for a presentation and panel discussion about preschool through third grade (P-3) alignment. The board engaged the panel in a lively discussion on social-emotional development, English language learners and other topics.
- The wait list has reached 47,000 children, birth to school age, according to a report from the board’s fiscal subcommittee.
- Carol Craig-O’Brien, chair of the board’s Planning and Evaluation subcommittee presented a review the board’s strategic plan, which it developed in July.
- The board heard an update on STEM standards for early education and care.
The next Board of Early Education and Care meeting will take place on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 from 1-4 p.m. in Worcester.