Legislation to Expand Access to Universal Pre-Kindergarten

There are a number of bills that would expand access to pre-kindergarten programs across the Commonwealth.

S.326, An act to achieve universal pre-kindergarten

This bill would create a special commission to investigate how to expand universal pre-kindergarten to every pre-kindergarten aged child in Massachusetts. This study would focus on costs, funding mechanisms, types of pre-kindergarten programs available, and pre-kindergarten’s impact on education readiness.

S326 is sponsored by Senator Rebecca Rausch. The House version of the bill, H414, is sponsored by Representative Antonio Cabral.

S326 was heard in front of the Joint Committee on Education on July 2nd. No action has been taken on this bill since.

S.240, An act relative to universal prekindergarten access

This bill would create the High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Expansion grant program, which would provide high quality, district-wide, full-day pre-kindergarten for children between the ages of 2 and 9 months and the age when a child becomes eligible for kindergarten in his or her school district. This program would limit class sizes to no more than 20 students and would provide a child to instructor ratio of no more than 10 to 1. Staff salaries and benefits would be comparable to salaries and staff of K-12 teachers in the same district. Curricula would be evidence-based. This grant program would be developed and administered by the Department of Early Education and Care in consultation with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Grants to qualified applicants would be prioritized using three metrics: accountability level as determined by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; third grade reading proficiency scores; and the percentage of students qualifying as economically disadvantaged.

S240 is sponsored by Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz.

S240 was heard in front of the Joint Committee on Education on July 2nd. No action has been taken on this bill since.

S.265, An act ensuring high quality pre-kindergarten education

This bill would create a grant program for school districts to offer to children ages 2 years and 9 months to the time a child becomes eligible for kindergarten in the district. This program would ensure a child to instructor ratio of no more than 10 to 1 and maximum child class size of no more than 20. The curricula would be evidence-based, and the program would run in partnership with community service providers. Staff salaries would be comparable to district K-12 staff salaries. The Department of Early Education and Care would manage this grant program in consultation with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Grants would be awarded to districts based on district readiness and need, and preference in grant awards would be given to districts that are designated as underperforming.

S265 is sponsored by Senator Sal DiDomenico. The House version of the bill, H551, An act relative to grants for high quality early education, is sponsored by Representative Alice Peisch.

S265 was heard in front of the Joint Committee on Education on July 2nd. No action has been taken on this bill since.

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