Conference Committee Releases FY2018 Final Budget
After weeks of deliberation and the passing of a temporary budget, the House and Senate Conference Committee has agreed on a final budget. For the line items that MAP typically tracks (listed in the chart below) there was a $9.5 million increase from last year, although some line items did lose some funding.
The first line item of importance is the Early Education rate reserve (line item 3000-1042). The rate reserve is an important component of the early education and afterschool workforce. It adds to the reimbursement rate providers receive from students with vouchers and is invaluable in keeping high qualified staff in programs. The rate reserve was funded at $15 million, compared to last year’s $12.5 million. This is a great step towards improving the long term health of the out-of-school time field. MAP and our partners will continue to work and support future increases.
The Afterschool and Out-of-School Time Quality grant (line item 7061-9611) received a significant bump. At $3.525 million, the grant now is funded at the highest rate since 2009. The grant funds professional development, quality improvements, and curriculum development for over a hundred afterschool and summer programs across Massachusetts. According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, over 10,000 children and youth are served by the grant. The Conference Committee also included $100,000 for a pilot program recommended by the Afterschool and Out-of-School Time Coordinating Council and championed by Senator McGee and Representative Benson. Funded at $300,000 in FY17 before being cut by the Governor, the pilot program seeks to establish a multi-year program to help afterschool programs connect directly with their school district and share data.
The final budget now heads to Governor Baker who has 10 days to review the budget and take action to either approve or veto the budget. The Governor may approve or veto the entire budget, veto or reduce specific line items, veto outside sections or submit changes as an amendment to the budget for further consideration by the Legislature.
MAP wants to take a moment and thank everyone who has participated in this year’s online campaign. Hundreds of you used our website advocacy tool to write your locally elected Representatives and Senators. It made a real difference: thousands more children and youth will benefit from the ASOST-Q grant with the increase in funding. MAP will continue to update the field as budgets, even when signed into law, may still fluctuate.