Today, the Massachusetts House Committee on Ways and Means released its state budget proposal for fiscal year 2018. The $40.3 billion budget represents a 3.8 percent increase over current year spending.
For early education and care, the House provides $10 million more than Governor Baker did in the proposal he released in January. House funding includes a $15 million rate increase to help address the workforce crisis in early education and care. Ways and Means Chair Brian Dempsey highlighted this increase in his letter to House members:
“Under the leadership of Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, the House Ways and Means budget prioritizes funding for early education and care with a focus on quality. The budget proposes a $15 million rate reserve for early educators. The rate reserve combined with other investments in the early education accounts will help to raise salaries and allow providers to recruit and retain high quality staff. This new funding ensures that Massachusetts’s youngest residents are receiving the best possible care during these highly formative years.”
The House proposal also provides $2.5 million for early childhood mental health supports and $700,000 for Reach Out and Read, which was not funded in the governor’s budget.
The Boston Globe covers the budget here.
House members have until Thursday, April 13, 2017, at 5 p.m. to file budget amendments, which will be debated the week of April 24th. Stay tuned for updates.
A reminder: Early Education Advocacy Day at the State House will be on April 24th, 2017, 10:30 a.m. Go to the Put MA Kids First coalition website for details.