On Tuesday, Aug. 8, Governor Maura Healey announced a state of emergency, asking for resources to serve rising numbers of migrant families. On Wednesday, she slashed funds in the fiscal 2024 budget that would do just that, reducing by $1 million funding for Head Start and slashing by $35 million salary rate funding for early education programs serving low-income children. These unconscionable cuts disrespect the hardworking educators serving our most vulnerable children and directly hit the wallets of those most deserving of more.
Head Start provides no-cost early education and comprehensive services, including emergency housing and job supports, child and family mental health, and nutrition to more than 10,000 of Massachusetts’ young children. These programs serve incoming migrant families in the shelter system, providing child care, home visits, playgroups, and referrals.
Head Start is already in a workforce crisis with an 18 percent staff vacancy rate. Healey slashed wage dollars for educators whose wages were already severely underfunded. These programs cannot absorb these cuts, which will probably force painful decisions to eliminate services to pay teachers.
We remain grateful for the Legislature’s intended investments in our workforce. These cuts cannot stand.
Massachusetts Head Start Association