House budget reduces support for key Gateway City education initiatives
Stacked up against Governor Patrick’s budget proposal, the FY 15 House budget reduces funding for key Gateway City education initiatives. Governor Patrick’s budget request increased investment in line items related to the Gateway Cities Vision by nearly $40 million; in contrast, the House budget increases funding in these areas by $26 million.
The most significant differences are found in line items associated with pathways to college and career. The Governor’s budget increased investment in these categories by 26 percent. The House budget reduces funding for college and career by 7 percent. Most notably, School-to-Career Connecting Activities was cut by 64 percent. This program is the centerpiece of the state’s efforts to increased work-based learning opportunities. The Early College Initiative (which was a new line item within the Governor’s proposal) and the Gateway Cities Career Academies were cut out of the budget completely.
Support for newcomers was also reduced in the House budget. The Gateway City ELL Summer Academies and the Parent-Child Home Program absorbed cuts of 17 percent and 13 percent, respectively.
Social and emotional growth, a focal point of the Vision that many Gateway City education leaders believe is particularly urgent to develop, also suffers under the House budget. Funding for afterschool programs is reduced by 12 percent and the Mentoring Matching Grant line item decreases by nearly 30 percent.
For other Gateway City leaders, reductions in early education are of particular concern. While the difference in the three main access line items is fairly small, the House did not include the Governor’s proposed K1 grant. This new $2 million line item was seen as a new model for scaling access to pre-K in Gateway Cities.– Megan Aki