On Tuesday, May 17, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means released a $39.497 billion state budget proposal for fiscal year 2017. The budget emphasizes the theme of "resilience," and makes strategic increased investments in education.
In her introductory message to the budget, Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka emphasized the importance of investing in children. "There is no more important place to plant the seed of resilience than within our children. Strong, resilient children will grow up to be active contributors to a productive and thriving Commonwealth. ... A healthy environment, especially during a child's early formative years, is crucial for laying the foundation of resilience." Visit the Senate budget website for more details.
For the Department of Early Education and Care and its programs, the Senate proposes $556 million, plus a $10 million Rate Reserve for early educator salaries. Two new EEC line items appear in the proposal: preschool planning and implementation grants (3000-5090) funded at $2 million, and a family mentoring pilot program (3000-7000), funded at $500,000.
The Senate provides only $2 million for full-day kindergarten grants, a cut of $16.59 million relative to current FY16 funding levels.
Click here more information including how funding levels compare to those in the House and Governor Baker budgets.Amendments to the Senate budget are due by 5pm, Thursday May 19. The Senate will begin budget debate on Tuesday May 24.