Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Last week, the Massachusetts Senate passed a $40.4 billion budget. During the budget debate, Senators adopted four amendments for early education, adding $500,000 to the total budget of the Department of Education and Care, including $100,000 for a comprehensive workforce study to be conducted by UMass Boston (3000-1020). Click here for specific line items and funding levels. 

The next step in the FY18 budget process: the House and Senate will appoint three members each to a Conference Committee, which will reconcile the differences between the House and Senate proposals. Once out of conference committee and approved by the House and Senate, the budget will go to Governor Baker. He will have ten days to review the bill, sign it, and announce any vetoes and amendments. 

Millions of dollars are at stake for high-quality early education and early educators in Massachusetts. Your advocacy is needed. Contact your legislators now!

At stake in the budget negotiations is $10 million for the early educator workforce salary rate reserve — as well as $15.1 million for preschool implementation and planning grants. Here’s a full list of early eduction budget items.

• Center Based Child Care Rate Increase for Early Educators (3000-1042): House funding level of $20 million, to address the current workforce crisis by increasing salaries for early educators.

• Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative (3000-6025): Senate funding level of $15.10 million, to enable local communities to expand high-quality preschool opportunities for 3- and 4-year-olds.

• Early Childhood Mental Health (3000-6075): House funding level of $2.50 million.

Quality Improvement (3000-1020): Senate funding level of $31.86 million, with House language for QRIS earmark and Senate language earmarking $100,000 for a study on the workforce.

Head Start (3000-5000): Senate funding level of $9.5 million.

Reach Out and Read (3000-7070): House funding level of $1 million.

• EEC Administration (3000-1000): Senate funding level of $5.76 million.

 Supportive Child Care & TANF (3000-3060): Senate funding level of $223.30 million.

Outside Section 74 A in the House – Carries over any unspent funding in Income Eligible and TANF/Supportive for infant/toddler rate increases and early educators salary increases.