Thursday, March 4, 2010

HB 190: an important starting point for preschool access

On the one hand, a hard recession means a very hard state budget process.  On the other hand, good work is underway to prepare for better days ahead, especially in the area of pre-K education.

House Bill 190 sets a goal of making voluntary, quality preschool accessible for every three- and four-year-old, and creates a framework for reaching that goal.  Without asking for a current appropriation, it carefully organized the key steps Kentucky should take as revenue becomes available.

The central idea is grants to support community plans to expand preschool access, looking for cooperation between schools, Head Start programs, and "community-based child-care providers."  The grants will focus on supporting preschool for children from families with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level (currently about $44,000 for a family of four).

When it's possible to fully fund the effort, more than 21,000 additional Kentucky children will be better prepared for a strong start on their educations and their futures.

HB 190 was approved by the House of Representatives yesterday and will now move on to the Senate for consideration.  You can read the official bill summary here and--on that same page--you can download the bill itself by clicking on the blue underlined version of the bill number.  The Prichard Committee would also love to send you updates on this and related Strong Start early-childhood efforts: click here to let them know you want to participate.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!