We stand up for a Massachusetts where everyone gets a fair shot, does and pays their fair share, and plays by the same rules.
Our colleagues at Strategies for Children have run the numbers on the what the FY15 draft budget, proposed by the House Wednesday, looks like when it comes to early education.
Our position is that early learning is our most powerful tool to help every child succeed and eliminate the achievement gap. The House budget doesn’t do enough to address the tens of thousands of kids waiting for a spot in the classroom.
The House budget also leaves the $79 million tax loophole in place, but we expect an amendment to be filed soon to address that oversight.
In January, Governor Patrick released his $36.4 billion state budget proposal for fiscal year 2015. The governor’s plan included $531.74 million for programs administered by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), including $15 million in new funds to provide program access to preschool age children on the state’s Income Eligible waitlist.
On April 9, the House Committee on Ways and Means released its FY15 budget. The proposal includes $515.25 million for EEC and its programs, which is less than the governor’s proposal, but still a modest increase relative to FY14 appropriation levels. Increases are distributed primarily across the traditional three early education access accounts (Supportive, TANF, Income Eligible) as well as $7.5 million in a separate Income Eligible waitlist reduction account. The Governor’s proposal for K1 pre-kindergarten classroom grants ($2 million) was not funded in the House Ways and Means budget. Services for Infants and Parents (3000-7050) which funds EEC’s Coordinated Family and Community Engagement grants was cut by $2 million.
In addition, the House Ways and Means budget provides level funding relative to FY14 appropriations for several key programs including Universal Pre-K, Head Start, Access Management, Mental Health, and Reach Out and Read.
In a State House News story, House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey said that there would be an opportunity for lawmakers to debate whether they’d like to commit additional resources to early education. He said, “We always want to do more and we did our very best out of the gate, but my good friends and colleagues behind me and those who will be debating the budget the week of the 28th will continue to try to improve upon the document and improve upon the proposal, but I think we are clearly committing to all areas of education.” The House budget debate is scheduled to take place the week of April 28.
Representatives have until Friday, April 11 at 5pm to file amendments to the House Ways and Means budget. Stay tuned for information about amendments and what you can do to support young children and families.
Below is a review of early education and related programs where funding proposals differ across House Ways and Means, Governor Patrick’s proposal, and FY14 spending:
For more information on the FY15 budget process, please contact Titus DosRemedios, director of research and policy, at email@example.com