Senate plans another push for major early ed bill

Senate President Karen Spilka reads a book to children at a Head Start center in Malden on Thursday, March 7, 2024.
Sam Drysdale / State House News Service

Despite a tightening state budget picture, the Senate next week plans to take up a pricey early education and child care bill aimed at expanding access to education for the state’s youngest learners and making it more affordable for families, with Senate President Karen Spilka saying the state can’t afford not to take action.

The Senate plans to put the bill (S 2619) on the floor on Thursday, March 14. During a morning press conference at a Head Start center, no cost estimate was offered but the bill calls for sustained investments at a time when tax receipts are faltering. A Senate Ways and Means Committee summary of the plan said it will be funded by $1.5 billion that’s included in this year’s state budget, which Gov. Maura Healey signed in August 2023, and “will be subject to additional appropriations in future fiscal years.”

“The impact on the children, the positive impact that lasts throughout their whole lives by participating in programs like this, we can’t afford to not do this,” Spilka said when asked about the bill’s price tag.