Housing Bond Bill signed today by Governor Baker includes reauthorization of successful capital fund for early education facilities construction and renovation
BOSTON – Leaders from four leading organizations focused on improving the quality of early education and out-of-school time programs today celebrated the passage of critical funding for the construction and renovation of facilities serving low-income children in the Commonwealth. The Children’s Investment Fund, Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care (MADCA), Strategies for Children and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley today praised the Baker Administration, the Massachusetts State Senate and the Massachusetts House of Representatives for including the re-authorization of the Early Education and Out-of-School Time Capital Fund in the Housing Bond Bill signed into law today.
The Early Education and Out-of-School Time Capital Fund program is a unique source of funding for early education and care and afterschool programs throughout the Commonwealth. It supports major renovation and construction projects for facilities serving low-income children. The Housing Bond Bill signed into law today re-authorizes the EEOST Capital Fund through 2023.
The results of an assessment of the quality of early education and out of school time learning spaces across the Commonwealth, conducted in 2011 by the Children’s Investment Fund were alarming:
- 20% had one or more classrooms without windows.
- 34% had inadequate heating and cooling,
- 65% lacked appropriate technology for teachers
Additionally, as of December 2017, 20,873 children were on waiting lists for early education and care or afterschool care.
“The Commonwealth needs an improved and expanded supply of facilities to meet the demands of families across the state who are looking for convenient, high-quality centers for their children,” said Michael K. Durkin, President and CEO at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.
Access to safe, stable housing and affordable high-quality child care provide the critical foundation and peace of mind for individuals and families to seek and retain jobs that will allow them to support themselves and their families.”
Chris Martes, CEO and President of Strategies for Children added, “What a great day for children, families and programs across the Commonwealth. Facilities are a critical – and often overlooked – element to quality early education and afterschool centers. We have seen such dramatic results and positive outcomes for children from the Early Education and Out-of-School Time Capital Fund know that there is a long list of programs that could use funding.”
Since its original passage in 2013, the EEOST Capital Fund has:
- Distributed over $15Mto 21 projects, helping organizations modernize their spaces and improve the quality of learning environments for children.
- Served children from primarily low-income families (more than 86%) and added 448 slots to the early education and care system.
- Improved the quality of learning for 2,036
- Created an estimated 34full-time educator jobs and 360 construction jobs.
- Leveraged $44Min additional investment from foundations, banks, and other sources.
Communities that have benefited to date from EEOST funding include Beverly, Lynn, Lowell, Revere, Attleboro, Southbridge, Boston, Lawrence, Chicopee, Cambridge, Webster, Worcester, Belchertown, North Adams and New Bedford.
Bill Eddy, Executive Director of MADCA, the MA Association for Early Education and Care which represents early education and school age providers who serve low income families across the state, said, “This is an exciting renewal of the Early Education and Out of School Time Facilities Fund with $45m over the next five years to continue to improve the facilities and playgrounds where our youngest children are educated and cared for every day. These facility improvement funds create state-of-the-art spaces designed for young children and allow providers to expand facilities creating additional access to early education for low income children and their families, which also expands our workforce by creating new teaching positions. We are grateful that the Legislature included this once again and we applaud Governor Baker for signing this comprehensive bill with this Early Education Facilities Fund included.”
There is a strong demand for additional capital, with new projects emerging every year. Since 2014, 24 organizations, which collectively serve 3,500 low-income children, have applied to EEOST but were not funded.
“EEOST is unique in the country for providing a large-scale public source of funding for facilities,” noted Theresa Jordan, Director of Children’s Facilities Finance for the Children’s Investment Fund. “The reauthorization of an additional five years places Massachusetts further ahead as a national leader in the provision of high-quality early education and care.”