Before heading north to Canada on Tuesday, Gov. Deval Patrick visited the Community Action Programs InterCity Head Start site in Chelsea to announce that $15 million additional funding in this year’s budget would reduce the waitlist for early education subsidies by 3,200 children.
More than 50,000 low-income and at-risk children in Massachusetts attend early education programs with annual state subsidies, and the waitlist as of September had 43,000 prospective students.
Though the Legislature rejected Patrick’s broad plan to increase taxes and invest an additional $131 million in fiscal 2014 into early education, House and Senate leaders carved out $15 million in new investments to dent the waitlist.
The investment in early childhood care is the first expansion of the program since 2009, according to lawmakers.
“Every child in Massachusetts deserves the opportunity to receive high quality early education, and increasing the number of early ed vouchers will provide thousands more of our children with the opportunity to succeed,” Patrick said in a statement.
- M. Murphy/SHNS