Of course, while we here in Belmont sharpen our claws for the expected battle over school funding, including a 1% funding increase for full day kindergarten classes, there is the possibility (albeit remote) that we all may end up raising champagne glasses together and toasting our good fortune. I’m talking, of course, about Gov. Patrick’s proposal to increase education funding to cities and towns by an estimated $368 million in the next fiscal year.
Those of you who read the Globe this week will recall that our Governor is proposing (as reported by the Globe) an additional $223 million for local communities to use for education, including a doubling of money spent on extended day programs to $26 million, $15 million for 892 prekindergarten classrooms and $8 million to help 440 of the state’s half-day kindergarten classrooms expand to a full day. That is money that would be eagerly welcome in Belmont, and would essentially eliminate any fiscal (and, I would guess, political) justification for not creating full day kindergarten classes. Proposed increases in spending on tutoring could also help Belmont defray costs incurred by the Federal No Child Left Behind Act and State MCAS requirements.
Of course, proposing something is very different from actually seeing it enacted. And, according to published reports, there’s deep suspicion of the Governor’s proposals from business-minded legislators on Beacon Hill.
In fact, in the short term, the Governor’s proposals might make it difficult to get funding for FDK passed in town, should the powers that be decide to wait it out while the legislature decides whether to approve the educating funding increases.
Still, it’s a rarity these days when the public sector steps in at the right time, rather than playing catch up after the damage has been done (as with, say, the sub prime lending debacle). Let’s hope some of the Governor’s proposed increases get approved. In the meantime, we can dream, can’t we?