Malone says FY14 budget investments in early ed a good start
Education Secretary Matt Malone called the Legislature’s proposed investments in early education “a step in the right direction” on Twitter Tuesday, even though the appropriations included in the fiscal 2014 budget fall well short of Gov. Deval Patrick’s proposal to move toward universal pre-kindergarten. Patrick’s budget, which relied on $1.9 billion in new revenue through tax reform, called for a new $131 million investment in early education and care. The governor had proposed $56.8 million to eliminate the waiting list for early education programs by 2017. The budget passed by the House and Senate on Monday included $15 million to cut the waiting list down by 2,000 students under the age of five. Malone went on Twitter Tuesday telling followers he had time to answer questions between meetings. In response to a question about early education funding from the News Service, Malone said, “The level of funding is nowhere near what we need but a step in the right direction & I applaud lawmakers for the investment.” Carolyn Lyons, president and chief executive officer of Strategies for Children, had a similar response Monday to the budget sent to Patrick's desk for review. “The FY14 budget approved by the legislature today includes more than $26.5 million in new funding for early education and care. This increased state investment is a step in the right direction. New funding includes $15 million to decrease the waitlist for early education and care for children from income eligible families, and $11.5 million to provide a modest increase in salaries for early educators. Additionally, the Legislature maintained or increased funding for high-quality full-day kindergarten, scholarships for early childhood educators, Head Start, services for infants and parents, and the Department of Early Education and Care," Lyons said in a statement. - M. Murphy/SHNS
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