On Friday, July 12, Governor Deval Patrick signed a $33.6 billion state budget – including $489 million for the Department of Early Education and Care – for fiscal year 2014. New line items for early education and care include $15 million to reduce the waitlist for early education and care for children from income eligible families and $11.5 million for a rate reserve to support early educator salaries and benefits. The budget also level funds Universal Pre-K, Full-Day Kindergarten and the Early Childhood Educator Scholarships. It also calls for a special commission to study the cost of administering early education and care services, as well as a two-year independent study of the state’s provision of childcare supports.
The governor vetoed $240 million in transportation funding, $177 million in unrestricted local aid, and an additional $18 million to other line items in the budget submitted to him by the Legislature. The vetoes are connected to an unresolved $500 million tax-raising bill intended to finance investments in the transportation system.
The increased state investment in early education is a step in the right direction. This budget moves the Commonwealth closer to a system that provides access to high-quality early education for all its young children.
Massachusetts readers, click here to thank Governor Patrick and your state legislators.
Visit our EEA website for a complete listing of early education and care line items in the state budget.