On November 12, the House of Representatives passed the FY21 budget. I am sharing with you a summary of the education-related sections, compiled by House Chair of the Education Committee, Representative Alice Peisch.
FY21 House Budget:
Education Funding Highlights
Early Education & Care
3000-1000: Early Education & Care Administration
The House budget includes $6,394,823 to maintain the administration of the Department.
3000-1042: Early Educators Rate Reserve & Professional Development
The House budget includes $20,000,000 for the Early Education Rate Reserve line item. This level funding is a continuation of the FY19 and FY20 commitment to sustain the early educator workforce and improve high quality early education for the youngest students of the Commonwealth.
3000-1043: Sliding Fee Scale
The House budget creates this new line item and allocates $10,000,000 for funding to support changes to the department’s sliding fee scale for parents receiving child care subsidizes.
3000-3060: Supportive Child Care and TANF
The House budget includes $315,764,565 for the Supportive Child Care and TANF line item, which represents a $40M increase over the FY20 level. This line item supports children who have active cases with the Department of Children and Families or are receiving transitional aid for families with dependent children.
3000-4060: Income-Eligible Child Care
The House budget includes $286,702,892 for the Income-Eligible Care line item, which represents a $10M increase over the FY20 level. This line item supports low-income families and includes funding directed to classroom stabilization and incentive pay for educators if the funding cannot otherwise be used as a result of COVID-19.
3000-7000: Children’s Trust Fund
The House budget provides $16,438,152 for the Children’s Trust Fund line item, which represents a $1M increase over the FY20 level.
3000-7050: Services for Infants & Parents
The House budget provides $11,482,000 for the Services for Infants & Parents line item.The Department of Early Education and Care uses these funds to coordinate services for the coordinated family and community engagement grant program as well as the statewide neonatal and postnatal home parenting education and home visiting programs for at-risk newborns administered by the Children’s Trust Fund.
3000-7055: Neighborhood Villages Pilot Program
The House budget provides $1,000,000 for the Neighborhood Villages Pilot Program to provide high-quality infant and toddler classrooms that demonstrate best practices for supporting children, families and the early childhood workforce. It also establishes an infrastructure that enables wraparound health and wellness programming for children and families.
3000-7070: Reach out and Read
The House budget includes $1,000,000 for the Reach out and Read line item, which is consistent with the FY20 level. This program helps promote early literacy and school readiness by giving out free, developmentally-appropriate books to children during regular pediatrician visits.
Elementary & Secondary Education
The House budget includes $25,6000,000 for METCO, which represents a $1,4M increase over the FY20 level. This line item provides funding for grants to districts that are intended to expand educational opportunities, increase diversity and reduce racial isolation by permitting students in certain cities to attend public schools in other communities that have agreed to participate.
7010-0033: Literacy Programs
The House budget provides $2,039,731 for the Literacy Programs line item. This funding will ensure that the state continues to invest in proven programs that help to improve early literacy, language development, and reading skills for struggling students throughout the Commonwealth.
7010-1193: Civics Education Programs
The House Budget provides $1,000,000 to support civics education programs in coordination with the JFK Library Foundation and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute.
7010-1202: Digital Literacy Now
The House budget provides $1,000,000 for the Massachusetts Digital Literacy Now grant program. This program is designed to promote digital literacy and computer science education in our public schools and prioritizes underserved students and populations.
7035-0001: Career Technical Education Programs
The House budget includes $1,500,000 for planning grants for regional and local partnerships to expand existing and develop new Career and Technical Education programs. This represents a $1M increase over FY20.
7035-0002: Adult Basic Education
The House budget provides $46,045,000 for Adult Basic Education, which represents a $150,000 increase over the HWM appropriation and a $5M increase over the current FY20 level. The Adult Basic Education account funds education programs for adult learners, including basic literacy, English as a Second Language (ESL), and citizenship classes for adults throughout the Commonwealth. The significant increase over the last fiscal year will help to alleviate the waitlist for these services.
7035-0006: Regional School Transportation
The House budget provides $82,178,615 for regional school transportation, which represents a $6.3M increase over the current FY20 level. Increased funding for this line item will help provide additional support to many communities that rely heavily on this funding as a major source of local aid.
7061-0008: Chapter 70
The House budget includes $5.28B for Chapter 70 aid, which represents a $108M increase over FY20. This increase in Chapter 70 aid will keep school districts at foundation levels of spending by accounting for inflation. The House budget maintains the foundation and incremental rates as set forth in FY20, which represented significant increases for employee health care, Special Education, English Learners, and Low-Income students. While this is slightly less than full implementation of the first-year phase-in of the SOA, I am confident that the seven-year schedule will allow us to fulfil our ultimate commitment.
7061-0012: Special Education Circuit Breaker
The House budget provides $328,362,411 for the Special Education Circuit Breaker, which is a critical funding source for all districts in the Commonwealth.
7061-0027: Coronavirus Prevention Grants
The House budget creates this new line item and allocates $53,000,000 for enrollment-based grants to districts to assist them in providing quality onsite and remote learning opportunities. These grants can be used for a wide range of purposes including technology, mental health, PPE, and more.
7061-0033: Federal Impact Aid
The consolidated amendment reinstates this line item and appropriates $400,000 for a reserve to assist towns negatively impacted by shortfalls in federal impact aid for the education of children in families employed by the federal government.
7061-9010: Charter School Reimbursement
The House budget provides $117,357,887 for the Charter School Reimbursement line item, which represents a $2.4M increase over the current FY20 level.
7061-9611: After-School/Out-of-School Grants
The House Budget provides $10,742,017 for the After-School/Out-of-School Grant program, which represents a $2.3M increase over FY20. After School/Out-of-School grants provide opportunities for children to participate in activities outside of the traditional classroom setting. Many of these students participate in STEM activities as well as other programs that help prepare them for 21st century careers. Other programs are provided during the summer, which help diminish summer learning loss. These programs have taken on heightened significance during the pandemic as many are operating on a full-day basis providing remote learning support.
The House budget appropriates $2,000,000 for the Supporting of Healthy Alliances Reinforcing Education grant program, which helps schools address non-academic barriers to student success by supporting school districts as they establish infrastructures to facilitate integrated coordination of school and community-based resources, including social services, mental health, and behavioral health resources. Students’ mental and behavioral health are critically important during COVID-19.
7061-9809: Regionalization Grants
The House budget appropriates $500,000 for Regionalization Grants to support school districts considering forming a regional district or regionalizing services. Preference is given to those districts and municipalities with significant enrollment declines and similar challenges where the regionalization proposal will produce significant expansion of resources and supports.
4513-1131: Healthy Relationships Grant Program
The House Budget provides $1,100,000 for the Healthy Relationships Grant Program, which will enable schools and communities to develop and implement valuable domestic violence and sexual assault prevention programming for teens with a focus on promoting healthy relationships and addressing teen dating violence.
7000-9101: Board of Library Commissioners
The House budget includes $1,579,8776 for the Board of Library Commissioners.
7000-9401: State Aid to Regional Libraries
The House budget provides $12,516,000 for State Aid to Regional Libraries, which represents a $1,100,000 increase over the FY20 level.
7000-9501: State Aid to Public Libraries
The House budget provides $10,059,081 for the State Aid to Public Libraries line item.
7000-9506: Technology & Automated Resource Sharing
The House budget provides $4,259,000 for technology and automated resource sharing for libraries, which represents a $1M increase over the FY20 level.
Sections 13A and 44D: Public-Private Trust Fund
Section 13A makes technical language corrections to the Early Education and Care Public-Private Trust Fund created by chapter 124 of the acts of 2020 to ensure the implementation of an infrastructure to facilitate state, private, and philanthropic efforts in support of the early education and care field. Section 44D requires the Commissioner of the department of early education and care to report to the Legislature on potential financing models that support program stability and sustainability for the purposes of administering the Public-Private Trust.
Sections 35: EEC Sliding Fee Scale
This section gives the Commissioner of EEC the authority to establish and implement a revised sliding fee scale for subsidized child care.
Sections 42A and 44C: Remote Learning Attendance
Section 42A ensures that the remote learning tracking systems that are currently required of districts account for student extended absences, chronic absenteeism, and efforts made by districts to contact students that are not adequately accounted for. It also requires that this information is submitted to the department of elementary and secondary education and made available on their website. Section 44C requires DCF and DESE to report on efforts taken since March to monitor student attendance for children in DCF care.
Section 44A: Broadband Equity Commission
This section creates a special commission to study equity and access to telecommunications services and make recommendations on ways to address the “digital divide.” The commission will particularly study underserved populations including low-income, rural, and communities of color and will also assess effects on students and education.
Section 44B: Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission
This section creates an Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission to review child care funding structures and make recommendations for funding and policy changes.