On May 23, the Massachusetts Senate passed a $34 billion budget for fiscal year 2014. The senate budget includes $490 million for the Department of Early Education and Care. Through amendments to the Senate Ways and Means budget, an $11.5 million rate reserve for early educator salaries and benefits was included in the final Senate budget, as well as an additional $200,000 for Head Start.

The Senate budget includes $15 million for a new line item dedicated to addressing the waitlist for income-eligible early education and care. This funding would provide an estimated 2,000 children with early education subsidies, beginning to address the state’s waiting list of more than 30,000 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers seeking state aid to enroll in early education programs. The Senate budget however makes cuts to Universal Pre-k, Coordinated Family and Community Engagement grants, Reach Out and Read, and Full-Day Kindergarten grants.

Click here for a complete listing of early education and care line items in the state budget.

Differences between the House and Senate FY14 budgets will now be negotiated by a six-member conference committee in June before the start of the fiscal year on July 1. Based on those differences, roughly $34 million is at stake for early education and related line items. Massachusetts readers, stay tuned for updates as your advocacy will be critical for ensuring increased investments in high-quality early education and care this fiscal year.