See How Education Fared In Massachusetts State Budget Proposal

Democrats rolled out a massive state budget proposal with expansions for Massachusetts education funding in multiple sectors.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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Massachusetts education funding

On Wednesday, the Democrat-controlled members of the Massachusetts House released a state budget proposal for next year.  Released by the Associated Press, the proposition boasts nearly $50 billion in funding for the Bay State. Plans for Massachusetts education funding within the state budget were also revealed, with raises in some areas.

The proposed state budget plan would increase the state’s current spending by more than $2 billion, or 4.2%, over the current year’s allotted budget. Not surprisingly, much of the proposal from the Democratic leaders also went against Massachusett’s Republican governors requested budget proposal that was unveiled in January. The proposed state budget ended up being nearly $1.4 billion more than Baker asked for, and it also failed to include any broad-based tax hikes he previously asked for. And as for Massachusetts education funding, the Democrats unveiled a plan to expand state support for early education, child care programs, extended free school lunches, workforce training, and youth engagement programs.

According to The Eagle-Tribune, the Massachusetts education funding budget is looking to shell out more than $110 million in funding for early education. Within that budget is a $40 million increase in provider salaries. Poised to be a major focus during debates, early childhood education had the curtain pulled open following the onset of the pandemic when schools and child care centers abruptly shut down. Many leaders saw this as an opportunity to reshape the sector.  

Massachusetts education funding

It’s a big concern among families in the state where not only is childcare hard to find, but also holds some of the highest price tags seen in the country. The child care sector in Massachusetts has already lost 1,359 programs since March 2020, which translates to nearly 24 thousand lost slots for young children. Similarly, the state ranks in as the third-highest state in the percentage of income spent on early education and care costs. With $110 million more hopefully funneling in next year, leaders hope to make a huge change with the proposed Massachusetts education funding budget.

The budget also made plans to extend the state’s free lunch program throughout next year. States all across the nation are reeling after Congress failed to extend the child nutrition waiver program that put free school meals in cafeterias across America. As of now, the program is set to expire at the end of this school year, and many states fear the will millions of students will go hungry next year. However, will likely not be one of those states, as they plan on keeping lunches free through the Massachusetts education funding proposal.

Massachusetts education funding

Last on the docket for Massachusetts education funding was extended education workforce training and youth engagement programs. Still unclear how much funding will be allotted to these sectors of education, the proposal will likely mirror other states that have revamped training initiatives as a means to attract more teachers. Many states report the shortage as perpetually worsening, and everyone has different views on how to address the issue. As for youth engagement programs, studies suggest that these can be critical to increasing success rates that not only improve academics but extend outside of the classroom and further in life. 

While the Democrat’s budget might seem hefty, it has a long process before officially being enacted. The House members will reconvene late in April for further debate on the budget, and the Massachusetts education funding might be tweaked. After that, the proposal heads to the Democrat-controlled Senate for further debate. Once a compromised version of the budget is agreed upon, it will head to the governor’s desk for approval.