Education-funding increase for town in proposed House budget

Sean Garballey, 2019Garballey

The office of state Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) reports that the House Ways and Means fiscal 2020 budget includes some pluses for Arlington.

A member of Ways and Means, Garballey expects the budget will have a positive impact on the Town of Arlington, and the Commonwealth as a whole.

The budget debate is to begin in the House the week of April 22. The figures provided here are not final and will be updated as the debate progresses.

An April 12 news release from Garballey's office highlighted that Chapter 70 funding for education has been proposed at $5.126 billion, a $218-million increase over fiscal 2019, and $17.7 million more than Gov. Baker’s proposal.

Up from 2018 funding

Last year, Arlington received $11,765,923 in Chapter 70, and $7,844,260 in unrestricted government aid. This year, Arlington’s proposed figures are $13,979,327 in Chapter 70, and $8,056,055 in unrestricted government aid. These are increases of $2,213,404 and $211,795, respectively.

“Advocating for substantial increases in Chapter 70 education aid for Arlington has been one of my top priorities as a member of the House,” Garballey said in the news release. “The budget proposed by Ways and Means supports this goal.”

Over the past five years, the state House of Representatives has sought almost $75 million to raise salaries for early educators. This budget proposes $10.5 million for Head Start grants, $6.2 million for quality improvement in early education programming, and $20 million for increases in provider rates across Massachusetts.

Other highlights

Other highlights under the House’s “Safe and Supportive Schools” initiative:

  • $2 million for the SHARE grant, to increase access to social services and behavioral health;
  • $1 million for the Early Education and Care pilot to integrate health-and-wellness programming;
  • $100,000 for the Office of the Child Advocate; and
  • $2.5 million for early childhood mental health consultation services.

Proposed higher-education funding in the Commonwealth is $56.4 million over last year, for a total of $1.126 billion. Of this amount, $105 million is for scholarships and will go toward STEM Starter Academies, the DHE Performance Incentive Fund and the UMass Innovation Voucher Program.

Proposed figures for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program are an addition $10 million, with public-housing and homeless shelter subsidies all seeing increases. Transportation for homeless students and unaccompanied homeless youth would likewise see increased numbers.

Developmental Services up

Developmental Services would benefit significantly from a proposed 158.4 million increase over fiscal 2019. The extra $10 million over the governor’s budget will assist those with autism and help with employment and transportation.

With addiction a major issue in our communities, the Substance Abuse Disorder Trust Fund proposed figure is $49.4 million, and the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services gets $143.9 million for recovery services. These include jail diversion and expanded access to life-saving medication.

The Department of Transitional Assistance would receive an additional $8 million over last year, in part to assist with the “lift the cap on kids” program, and eliminate the homeless penalty for beneficiaries.

Reentry programs and medication-assisted treatment programs for prisoners have been included.

“It is very rewarding to see our efforts on these issues paying off,”Garballey said. “This is a step in the right direction and support for these programs will hopefully grow from here.”

Upon completion of the House debate, the Massachusetts Senate will be releasing and debating their version of the budget. Following this both chambers will meet in a conference committee before submitting a package to the governor.

MassLive, April 10: House proposes $42.69b state budget for fiscal '20

House Ways and Means budget link

This news announcement was published Tuesday, April 16, 2019.