Push for the House Budget
It is now budget season in Massachusetts, and the House Ways & Means has released their first pass. The Department of Early Education and Care is currently earmarked to receive:
- $5 million for a Quality Care Rate Reserve for early education providers, to support and attract the highest quality educators,
- an additional $3 million for the Quality Rating and Improvement System, to support and enhance the quality of care being delivered, and
- $5 million for new child care vouchers, which would move over 800 children off the waiting list.
These numbers are a good start, but we must work to do more. According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, years of “level funding” (funding a department or initiative at the previous year’s level, without adjusting for inflation) has effectively reduced the state’s contribution to the Department of Early Education and Care by 50%, or over $100 million, between 2001 and 2012.
There are two budget amendments that we at BTWIC, along with our colleagues in the Put MA Kids First coalition, are supporting. The first is Amendment #579, offered by Representative Scibak of South Hadley. This amendment deals with the Early Education and School Age Rate Reserve, increasing the total amount to $15.2M. The second is Amendment #1069, offered by Representative Danielle W. Gregoire of Marlboro, which calls to increase the total allocation to $21M dollars while increasing the QRIS earmark to $4M. Rep. Gregoire has also called for clarifying language regarding a variety of improvement measures in the Quality Rating and Improvement System.
Please take action today – call your legislator and urge them to cosponsor these two amendments on behalf of the children of our Commonwealth and the educators who support them. If you need assistance finding your legislator, visit https://malegislature.gov/People/Search. Speaker DeLeo needs ALL of us to help him Put MA Kids First!