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Archive for the ‘MA Legislature’ Category

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Last week, on Friday, July 17, 2015, Governor Charlie Baker signed the fiscal year 2016 state budget into law. This budget has $162 million in line-item vetoes.

The vetoes include a $5 million reduction in funds for early education and care programs, as well as a $17.6 million reduction for full-day kindergarten grants.

The Legislature can vote to override these vetoes. But legislators need to hear your encouragement.

Please take a moment to send them an email and ask them to support early education funding in fiscal year 2016.

Thank you.

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

On Monday, June 22, 2015, House and Senate leaders extended Governor Baker’s two-week interim budget into a one-month spending bill intended to cover state spending beyond July 1. According to the State House News Service, the $2.7 billion interim budget bill will fund state agencies and programs for one month based on fiscal 2015 appropriation levels.

The six-member conference committee now has until July 14 to reach a compromise on the larger $38.1 billion spending plan for fiscal 2016. The one-month spending bill takes into account Governor Baker’s allowable 10 days for review and approval of the budget.

Stay tuned for more information while the details of the FY16 annual spending plan are finalized.

Visit our website for a complete listing of early education and care line items in the state budget, or contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org for more information. 

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Chris Martes, President and CEO of Strategies for Children, speaking at the launch of Pre-K for MA.  Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Chris Martes, President and CEO of Strategies for Children, speaking at the launch of Pre-K for MA. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Launched this spring, the Pre-K for MA coalition has been growing, and we’re inviting you to join us by becoming a Voice of Support.

As we blogged in the spring, Pre-K for MA is an effort to expand access to high-quality early education programs. This effort is being led by Strategies for Children and Stand for Children Massachusetts.

As the Pre-K for MA website says, “High-quality early education has been shown to have a significant short- and long-term impact on children’s educational, health, social, and economic outcomes. Yet in Massachusetts, we have not invested enough in Pre-K, leaving the ‘kindergarten readiness’ challenge up to parents to figure out on their own.”

That’s why Pre-K for MA supports a bill filed by Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) and Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) called “An Act Ensuring High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Education.”

The bill calls on Massachusetts to follow New Jersey by providing “access to high-quality pre-kindergarten programs for 3-and 4-year-olds living in underperforming school districts,” as this fact sheet explains (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Early on Friday, May 22, 2015, the Massachusetts Senate passed a $38.1 billion budget for fiscal year 2016.

During budget debate, senators approved additional funding for the early education and care provider rate reserve, bringing the Senate total to $5.25 million. In addition, an amendment was adopted to establish a new “Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative:” $500,000 to help communities expand preschool access for 3-year-olds. Amendments to restore funding for full-day kindergarten grants were not adopted, leaving the final Senate budget total at $1 million for this grant program.

Visit our website for a full listing of early education line items and how they compare across budget proposals.

The budget now moves to a six-member conference committee which will negotiate differences between the House and Senate FY16 budgets before sending a final budget to Governor Baker. Stay tuned for next steps. 


For more information on early education in the state budget, contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org, or (617) 330-7387.

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

A new poll has found widespread, bipartisan support for expanding pre-K in the commonwealth.

“Massachusetts voters are strongly supportive of spending measures designed to expand access to high-quality pre-K,” according to a memo describing the results of the poll.

“Not only do voters support spending to improve access to pre-K, but they believe the state should invest significant resources in the effort. Majorities of both Democrats and Republicans support spending at least $250 million, as do majorities of every demographic group.”

Voters also “believe expanding access is essential to giving kids from lower-income families a fair chance of keeping up in school.”

The poll is based on a March telephone survey of 605 Massachusetts voters, and designed to be representative of the population of registered voters in the state. The survey was conducted by Anderson Robbins Research, and commissioned by Stand for Children on behalf of the Pre-K for MA Coalition. The coalition — which is led by Strategies for Children and by Stand for Children — “is a coalition of education, business, and civic leaders who know that early education and care can help close the state’s achievement gap and create more opportunities for disadvantaged children.”  (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

On Tuesday of this week, the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Ways and Means released a $38 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2016. The proposal represents a 3.1 percent spending increase over FY15. It relies on $572 million in one-time funds and does not recommend any tax changes.

The committee’s proposal is themed “Lifting All Families,” and “makes targeted investments to foster shared prosperity, encourage overall economic growth and create new opportunities for people in all corners of our commonwealth.”

Among these targeted investments are increases to early education and care. The Department of Early Education and Care and its programs are funded at $545.51 million, roughly $6 million higher than in the House of Representatives’ FY16 budget. This includes a $12 million investment to serve children on the state’s income eligible waiting list for early education and care subsidies. The Senate proposal also consolidates two major subsidy access accounts, Supportive Child Care and TANF. (more…)

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Jim Peyser. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Jim Peyser. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

How do you make progress in education reform? By tackling the tough question of how to pay for it.

This was the topic yesterday at the Union Club in downtown Boston where the Building on What Works Coalition hosted a panel discussion called “Financing Education Reform: The Next Chapter.”

“Time is of the essence in making progress,” Tripp Jones said, welcoming the audience of nearly 150 people. “We felt it was important to say, look, there are communities ready to move,” on education reform. They just need access to funding.

Jones is a board member and the co-founder of the nonprofit think tank MassINC, which is part of the Building on What Works Coalition along with Massachusetts 2020, the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, and Strategies for Children.  (more…)

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