Yesterday, the Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Committee released its $33.9 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2014. This proposal represents a $1.4 billion increase over FY13 spending levels, while $67.5 million less than the FY14 budget passed by the House and $904 million less than the governor’s budget proposal.
The Senate committee’s proposal includes $490 million for the Department of Early Education and Care, roughly $13 million more than the House’s budget. The committee provides $15 million for a new line item dedicated to addressing the waitlist for income-eligible early education and care. The Senate proposal however also makes cuts to Universal Pre-k, Coordinated Family and Community Engagement grants, Reach Out and Read, and Full-Day Kindergarten grants.
Strategies for Children president Carolyn Lyons issued the following statement:
“The Senate Ways and Means budget released today provides a new line item of $15 million to decrease the waitlist for early education and care for children from income eligible families. While this new line item is a step in the right direction — providing an estimated 2,000 young children with subsidies — there are currently more than 30,000 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers seeking state aid for early education programs.