The state budget is a reflection of our values and an opportunity to secure essential funding for services across the Commonwealth. As our communities work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the budget prioritizes equity, justice, and opportunity for those who have been hit hardest is more urgent than ever.
The Massachusetts House Committee on Ways and Means recently released its FY23 budget proposal. MA Appleseed is supporting several budget amendments that would expand language access, disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline, and increase support for youth experiencing homelessness. And with the full House scheduled to debate soon, we need you to raise your voice. Learn more and take action below!
Amendment #1381 (Rep. Cabral) would provide $8 million to improve the capacity of our public-facing state agencies to meet the critical language access needs of our Commonwealth’s increasingly diverse population.
The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the inability of state agencies to provide desperately needed information and services in languages other than English. As one of the most linguistically diverse states in the country, we must ensure that limited English proficient residents have equal access to public health information, education, unemployment assistance, healthcare, housing, and other crucial services.
When we invest in language access, our communities are healthier, safer, and stronger. Please contact your State Representative and tell them: we need to invest in language access for all. Co-sponsor Rep. Cabral’s language access budget amendment #1381!
Amendments #1133 and #1138 (Rep. Uyterhoeven) would utilize existing funds in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education budget to provide targeted interventions (#1133) and school supports (#1138) to reduce the use of suspensions among students in pre-K through 3rd grade.
Amendment #1321 (Rep. Khan) would create a $600,000 grant program, administered by the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, to support public schools and school districts in transitioning to safety models that do not rely on stationing police in schools.
Both excluding students from the classroom at an early age and maintaining a police presence in schools have been shown to lead to worse educational outcomes, especially for Black and Latinx students, students with disabilities, and students who are economically disadvantaged. Together, these amendments will help disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline and keep students in class where they are safe, supported, and available for learning.
It’s time to end the over-policing and criminalization of students of color and ensure all students have the care and support in school they need to thrive. Please send a message to your State Representative urging them to co-sponsor Rep. Uyterhoeven’s budget amendments #1133 and #1138 and Rep. Khan’s budget amendment #1321!
Amendment #494 (Rep. O’Day) would increase funding for the budget line item “Housing and Services for Unaccompanied Youth Experiencing Homelessness” (4000-0007) from $8.5 million to $10 million. When young people experience homelessness, they are at a greater risk of poor health outcomes, exposure to violence, susceptibility to exploitation, and dropping out of school. This increased investment in supportive services for our most vulnerable youth is vital to match the scale of need across the state and help create a sustained and effective response to end youth homelessness
Keep informed & stay involved!
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