BOSTON, MA — The Massachusetts House on Wednesday voted to restore $17.5 million in funding for kindergarten expansion grants, overriding Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto.
The restoration of the kindergarten expansion grants passed unanimously, 155-0, despite calls for a future conversation about how kindergarten is funded in the state.
“Schools are counting on the money in just a few weeks,” state Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington, vice chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in an interview before the vote. “They have already planned on it and enrolled students.”
Baker had cut the money from a grant program used by communities to add full-day public kindergarten, leaving just $1 million in the fund.
Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore said after Baker issued the veto that the administration left the $1 million in the fund in order to help new communities that want to add full-day kindergarten. But she said the fund was being used by communities for years after they added kindergarten to maintain it – which is not why the fund was created.
Early education advocates and municipal officials have been pushing the Legislature to return the funds.