Walsh focuses on education funding and access in city speech

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2016/01/19/walsh-focuses-on-education-funding-and-access-in-city-speech/

BOSTON – Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, in his annual address on the State of the City on Tuesday night, challenged the leadership in the State House to make a “full-investment” in early education in next year’s budget.

“I invite everyone to join me in making a stand for early education,” Walsh said to a packed Symphony Hall, where Gov. Charlie Baker, Speaker Robert DeLeo of the House of Representatives and dozens of state lawmakers were on hand.

Walsh urged legislators to “work through the state budget this year” to expand “high-quality pre-kindergarten” programming in city’s like Boston. “I know we share this priority. Now let’s fund it,” the mayor said. Baker, who will deliver his State of the State message Thursday, is expected to submit his budget proposal Jan. 27.

DeLeo, who once counted Walsh among his Democratic House members, identified early education as a priority for this session in his annual speech to the House last February. At the time, he said House leaders would develop “our own plan to further provide early access to high-quality programming for our youngest children.”

Asked recently about this priority, DeLeo acknowledged the need for additional funding, but said he was also engaged with early education leaders about steps lawmakers could take that would not require significant new investment.

Walsh also touched on the simmering battle over charter schools, which has pitted ballot activists and Baker up against a Senate that appears reluctant to act to lift the cap on charters.

“Instead of unity, too often we see schools pitted against each other by adults,” said Walsh, who was a charter school supporter during his time in the Legislature. Walsh called for “fair and sustainable funding” for district and charter schools, and a unified enrollment system.

Written by Matt Murphy