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Archive for the ‘MA state budget’ Category

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

On Wednesday, Massachusetts’ six-member legislative conference committee released a $41.88 billion state budget for fiscal year 2019 that reconciles the differences between the House’s and Senate’s budget proposals. The Legislature passed the budget, and it now heads to Governor Baker who has 10 days to sign it into law, and can make line item vetoes.

Massachusetts readers, take action: Ask Governor Baker to sign the budget, and continue his support of high-quality early education and care.

The committee invested in high-quality early education. Nine out of 13 line items of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) were in play because the House and Senate had funded them at different levels.

In each instance, the committee chose the higher funding level: $20 million for the early educator salary rate reserve, $10 million for a new early educator workforce development initiative, $5 million for preschool expansion, $1 million for Reach Out and Read, and more. Visit our website for details.

We thank the members of the Conference Committee:

House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sánchez (D-Boston)
Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington)
Representative Todd Smola (R-Warren)
Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka (D-Ashland)
Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem), and
Senator Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth)

MassLive.com covers the budget here.

A Boston Globe budget story is posted here.

To advocate, send a message to Governor Baker today.

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

On Monday, the Massachusetts Legislature announced the six conference committee members who will negotiate differences between House and Senate proposals for the fiscal year 2019 state budget.

Budget Conference Committee:

House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sánchez
Representative Stephen Kulik
Representative Todd Smola

Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka
Senator Joan Lovely
Senator Vinny deMacedo

Now is the time for advocacy! Please take a moment to ask the conference committee to invest in early educators.

Millions of dollars are at stake in this year’s budget, including $28.5 million for the early education and care workforce. Please take action to ensure the maximum possible investment in the commonwealth’s young children, families, and early educators. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

On Thursday, May 10, 2018, Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka released a $41.42 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2019.

The Senate budget is slightly higher than Governor Baker’s proposal and slightly lower than the House budget.

For early education and care, the Senate budget invests $5 million in preschool expansion, increases funds for child care resource and referral agencies, and level funds most other programs. Unlike the House, the Senate budget does not include a rate reserve for early educator salaries.

The Senate budget’s executive summary states: “Skills learned in early childhood directly impact future academic achievement and personal and economic success. The Committee’s budget invests in kids beginning at birth and seeks to remove barriers to access and quality care.”

Additional reporting on the Senate budget and its implications can be found at MassLive and The Boston Globe.

The Senate will debate amendments to the budget on May 22. Visit Strategies for Children’s website for a complete list of early education line items.

Stay tuned for more information on amendments and advocacy opportunities.

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) has released its annual yearbook — a comprehensive look at publicly-funded preschool programs — and found a mix of progress and stagnation: There are more preschool spots, but states aren’t investing enough in program quality. This year’s assessment also includes a special report on Dual Language Learners.

“Recent changes in federal policy – including the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – make it clear that progress in early education depends more than ever on the states,” NIEER Senior Co-Director Steven Barnett said.

Looking at the 2016-2017 academic year, the Yearbook notes that:

• across the country “state-funded preschool program enrollment exceeded 1.5 million children” or “33 percent of 4-year-olds and 5 percent of 3-year-olds”

• state funding for preschool rose two percent to some $7.6 billion, an increase of nearly $155 million (adjusted for inflation) since 2015-2016

• state funding per child was $5,008, a slight decline from 2015-16 adjusted for inflation

• 3 state-funded preschool programs met all 10 new quality standards benchmarks

• 10 programs met fewer than half, and

• 7 states do not invest any state dollars in preschool

In its assessment of state policies for Dual Language Learners, NIEER reduces its findings to two words: “Needs Improvement.”  (more…)

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Yesterday, hundreds of early educators from across the state — many wearing green and snapping cell phone pictures – gathered for a rally at the State House steps for Advocacy Day. An upbeat band, featuring tuba and trombone players, wove through the crowd, filling Beacon Street with music.

 

Leo Delaney

 

“It really is about the workforce,” Leo Delaney said. He’s the president of the board of MADCA (the Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care), and he was the first speaker. “Without quality staff, you don’t have quality.” (more…)

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“Under the leadership of Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Massachusetts has prioritized the field of early education and care (EEC), investing in both access and quality. This budget continues these historic investments, including another $20 million rate reserve for early educators, which will help to raise salaries allowing education providers to recruit and retain high quality staff. This includes $18 million to cover a 5% rate increase for center-based EEC providers, as well as an increase to the add-on rate for Department of Children and Families (DCF) children. Lastly, we create a new $8.5M EEC workforce development initiative to coordinate professional development and higher education opportunities for early educators in conjunction with Massachusetts community colleges. Overall, this funding ensures Massachusetts’s youngest residents receive the best possible care from experienced teachers during their most formative years.”

Massachusetts House Ways and Means Chair Jeffrey Sánchez, in a letter to House members that accompanied the House Ways and Means fiscal year 2019 state budget, April 11, 2018

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Yesterday, the Massachusetts House Ways and Means committee released its state budget proposal for fiscal year 2019. This budget makes strategic new investments in early educators and in high-quality early education and care, including:

  • a $20 million rate reserve for early educators, enabling programs to support teacher compensation, recruitment, and retention
  • a new $8.5 million EEC workforce development initiative, and
  • increases for Access Management and Head Start

Overall, the budget totals $41 billion, representing a 3.1 percent increase over current fiscal year 2018 appropriations. (These numbers could change if, as MassLive.com reports, voters approve several ballot questions that could impact state revenues.)

In his letter to House members, House Ways and Means Chair Jeffrey Sánchez said:

(more…)

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