REPORT FROM THE SENATE MAJORITY –– A measure that would serve as a building block to creating a state-funded early childhood education program in the future advanced in conference committee today.
Senate and House conference committee members voted to move forward Senate Bill 1093, which establishes a school readiness program as a major component of the early learning system.
Senator Jill Tokuda, chair of the Senate Committee on Education and strong supporter of early childhood education, said the school readiness program is foundational as the state moves towards a funded preschool system.
“This is the first real investment Hawaii has made to join the vast majority of states that direct resources towards school readiness and early learning,” said Tokuda. “We have must to be proud of, and should recognize the opportunity if provides us to build a firm foundation of readiness as our youngest keiki enter school.”
“The program creates a more robust, rigorous version of Preschool Open Doors, focused on efficiently and effectively utilizing the resources provided, and will call upon providers to do school readiness assessment filled in with the aim of making sure those who go through the program are ready for kindergarten,” she explained. “This is one of the greatest equalizers we can give our children, ensuring every chance that they can have to be successful in both school and life.”
The program will be administered by Department of Human Services. The bill appropriated $1.160M for administration costs for two years and $6M in FY15 for subsidies based on a sliding fee scale that the Department of Human Services will develop.
“This investment is significant to building up to the system,” she added.
The bill now goes before the full House and Senate for a final vote.