Extending from Tuesday’s deadline to the wee hours of Wednesday morning, the 2019-2020 state legislative session has come to a close. Wednesday also saw the beginning of the first day of the 2021-2022 legislative session, as legislators were sworn into office.
Where does the final FY21 state budget stand? This budget includes much-needed investments in the child care sector, to help mitigate the ongoing effects of the pandemic. The FY21 state budget includes a $165 million (25 percent) increase for early education and care over FY20 spending amounts.
Governor Baker had signed the budget into law on December 11, making several vetoes including $16.5 million in vetoes to early education and care line items. However, by Monday, the Legislature had voted to override all of the early education vetoes.
Here’s a recap of what the final FY21 budget for early education and care:
• a $40 million sliding fee scale reserve to help reduce parent fees (3000-1044)
• a $25 million reserve for Coronavirus-related supports for early education programs and workforce (3000-1045)
• a $20 million rate increase for early educator salaries in subsidized programs (3000-1042), and
• level funding of $5 million for the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative (3000-6025)
In addition, outside section 23 establishes the Early Education and Care Public-Private Trust Fund, which was initially funded in the FY20 supplemental budget. The trust fund was created to provide technical assistance to child care providers who are recovering from the pandemic. The trust fund gets extra support from section 109 in the budget, which requires the Commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care to submit a report “regarding potential early education and care financing models that support program stability and sustainability” to help guide the use of the fund.
Through outside section 106, the budget establishes the Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission, which will review “how childcare programming is funded in the commonwealth” and “make recommendations for potential legislative changes in funding and related policies as the commission deems appropriate.”
Next, get ready for the FY22 budget advocacy season, which will start later this month when Governor Baker releases his FY22 budget proposal!