GOVERNOR'S FY 2019 BUDGET PLAN
SHORTCHANGES ABE YET AGAIN
Proposed Budget Would Cut ABE Funding by $1.4 Million
Earlier today, Governor Charlie Baker submitted his version of the
FY 2019 budget to the Legislature, recommending an appropriation of
$28.2 million for adult basic education (Line Item 7035-0002).
This figure represents a cut of $1.4 million below the current FY 2018 appropriation of $29.6 million; it also marks the third year in a row that the Governor has proposed reducing funding for ABE.
While the Governor's recommendations are not binding upon the Legislature, they nevertheless inform the House's and the Senate's deliberations, so it is critical that we voice our opposition to the Governor's plan loudly and clearly in the weeks ahead. Accordingly, MCAE issued a press release today calling on the Legislature to set aside the Governor's recommendations and to increase funding for ABE to $34.5 million in the coming year in order to expand programs' capacity to serve students, to strengthen curricula, and to improve working conditions. (A copy of the release is available here.)
We ask that you please share this release via your social media networks, but also to continue to reach out to your Representatives and Senators to urge them to support increased investments in ABE. We also ask that you consider writing a letter to the editor for your local newspaper to highlight the shortcomings of the Governor's proposal and to explain what additional resources for ABE would mean for your program, your students, and your community.
Legislator "Wish Lists"
As MCAE's last ALERT detailed, now is the time when legislators put together their budget "wish lists" and convey them to leadership in the House and Senate. Increased ABE funding needs to be on as many wish lists as possible. So, if you haven't already called your Representative or Senator, please do so now and ask them to make an appropriation of $34.5 million for adult basic education (Line Item 7035-0002) one of their top three priorities in the FY 2019 budget.
Letters to the Editor
Letters to the editor offer an incredible opportunity to make your views known and to make your neighbors - and your elected officials - aware of the need for Massachusetts to invest in adult basic education. Consequently, we encourage you to submit a letter to your local newspaper in support of additional funding for ABE before the Legislature takes a break over Presidents' Day. Once legislators return, they are likely to begin working on the budget in earnest.
Letters to the editor should be brief (as most newspapers have a limit of 200-250 words), direct, and civil. Among the points you could include in your letter:
- Governor Baker's budget misses a key opportunity to invest in Massachusetts' future, as it once again shortchanges adult basic education.
- State support for adult basic education in Massachusetts, after adjusting for inflation, has fallen 30 percent since 2001.
- Investments in adult basic education empower families across the Commonwealth to build better lives and to make positive contributions to their local communities.
- Massachusetts needs to invest in adult basic education now in order to strengthen its workforce and to ensure that companies can find the workers they need.
- Investments in adult basic education can help to achieve a range of public priorities, such as improved economic security, better health outcomes, and lower incarceration rates.
If at all possible, you should also provide examples of what additional funding for ABE could mean for your program, for your students, or for your city or town.
A list of major newspapers in Massachusetts, along with the email addresses or links via which you should submit your letter, can be found here. Please let us know when you submit a letter, so that we can monitor your paper for its publication and so that we can share it with state policymakers once it appears.
MCAE Legislative Briefing
Thanks to your outreach to House and Senate offices, MCAE's Legislative Briefing on January 16 was a phenomenal success. Over 50 legislators and staff were on hand to hear presentations from (left to right) Michele Diecuch of ProLiteracy, Christine Tibor from the Framingham Public Schools, and Tye Graham of Eastern Bank, as well as remarks from Senator Eileen Donoghue, Representative Bob Koczera, and Representative Dan Cullinane. MCAE Director Jeff McLynch made the case for renewed investment in ABE and urged the Legislature to support the organization's budget request of $34.5 million for FY 2019.
To view Michele Diecuch's and Jeff McLynch's presentations, please click
. To learn more about MCAE's FY 2019 budget request, please click
Assistance Needed on Economic and Social Justice Priorities
Of course, the state budget isn't the only thing being discussed around the State House these days. Your help is needed to defend the progress we've made on the Fair Share Amendment and to win approval of the Safe Communities Act.
Fair Share Amendment
As you know, MCAE is a proud member of Raise Up Massachusetts and has supported the campaign's efforts to put the Fair Share Amendment - which would make needed investments in education and transportation by imposing a new tax on incomes over $1 million - on the 2018 ballot. However, corporate interests are attempting to use the courts to deny the people of Massachusetts the right to vote on this vital amendment.
We ask that you express your support for the millionaire's tax by signing on to Raise Up's latest petition, which you can access
. You can learn more about the legal challenge
and about Raise Up's broader efforts to build an economy that works for everyone
Safe Communities Act
MCAE last year endorsed the Safe Communities Act, legislation that would protect the civil rights and safety of everyone in Massachusetts by ensuring that state funds could not be used to deport our neighbors and to separate families. The Legislature's Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security has jurisdiction over the Safe Communities Act, but has yet to move the measure forward, even as a February 7 deadline for action looms. Consequently,
the Massachusetts Safe Communities Coalition is organizing supporters of the bill to call their state representatives and senators on Wednesday, January 31, and to request that they demand the Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security approve the bill before the February 7 deadline.
For more details on the call-in day (including sample script for your call), click
We may not be Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, or (gulp) President Trump, but MCAE does have a Twitter account! Please follow us @MAAdultEd for the latest news from the State House, updates on NETWORK 2018, and interesting information on education, workforce development, and public policy.
NEXT MCAE PUBLIC POLICY COMMITTEE MEETING
FEB. 16, 2018
10 a.m. to 12 noon
44 Farnsworth St
Picknelly Education Center Holyoke, MA
Contact Sarah Schmidt
for exact room location