TEXT OF KOCZERA LETTER ON ABE FUNDING
Honorable Robert A. DeLeo - Speaker of the House
State House, Room 356
Boston MA 02133
Honorable Jeffrey Sanchez, House Chairperson
House Committee on Ways & Means
State house, Room 236
Boston, MA 0213
To the Honorable Speaker DeLeo and Chairperson Sanchez:
As you consider the Governor's vetoes for override of the FY 2018 State Budget, we respectfully urge you to restore a critical line item - Adult Basic Education/English for Speakers of Other Languages (ABE/ESOL), line item 7035-0002. We, as members of the House of Representatives, ask that this line item be reasonably restored to the Conference Committee appropriation of $29,632,378.
The Governor's veto substantially reduced the line item's funding, eliminated local earmarks, leaving the line item at an appropriation of $28,782,377 for FY 2018. This appropriation is below FY 2017 post-9c funding levels, which was $28,824,073. ABE/ESOL programs cannot be expected to continuously provide quality adult learning services to Massachusetts residents if the line item is substantially and unreasonably underfunded.
ABE/ESOL programs ensure that all adults have reasonable access to equal educational opportunities. The programs provide adult learners a means of attaining high school credentials, workforce development training, basic literacy skills, language support for non-English speaking adults, and other necessary skills for total self-sufficiency.
With a high school credential, a person can easily increase their earning potential - high school drop outs earn $8,825 less than workers who hold only a high school diploma. Children of parents who have high school diplomas are also more likely to succeed in school. And, it is generally accepted that education does lower incarceration and recidivism rates. These programs continue to prove their worth and benefit to the State, closing the workforce skills gap. ABE/ESOL programs guarantee a return on investment and opportunity, directly impacting economic inequality amongst the most underserved populations.
However, ABE/ESOL programs are not operating at their optimum capacity due to a trend of decreased State funding levels for more than a decade. Thousands of adult learners remain on wait lists to participate in these programs that have been so beneficial to the communities they serve. ABE/ESOL ensures that communities have a more literate and skilled workforce. Above all, the programs improve the quality of life for program participants and ensure the future success of their children in school.
It is for these reasons that we, collectively as members of the House of Representatives, seek your support to restore ABE/ESOL, line item 7035-0002, to the Conference Committee's appropriation of $29,632,378 for the FY 2018 Budget
We thank you for your consideration of this request, and we look forward to an increase on this line item above the Governor's veto.
Robert M. Koczera
11th Bristol District
Data on earnings differentials taken from the American Community Survey; estimate of collective annual earnings loss reflect MCAE calculations based on ACS data on the number of individuals without a credential and the earnings differential between those with and those without such a credential.