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Headstart Leaders express concern over Pre-K funding in new Michigan budget

Posted at 8:52 PM, Jun 17, 2024
  • Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s plan for universal Pre-K for all is a highlight in the upcoming year's fiscal budget, but I spoke to some people who may be concerned about its expansion.
  • The current version of the school aid budget will limit Great Start Readiness Program funding to only Intermediate School Districts and not community-based organizations.
  • Video shows Headstart leaders talking about the importance of these programs.

"These legislative proposals would limit parent choice and parent options which is critical in a vulnerable community."
Robin Bozek is the Executive Director of the Michigan Head Start Association. A non-profit that aims to help all children in our neighborhoods get a strong start to their education.


Talking with the Executive Director of Michigan Headstart Association and possible concerns with pre-K expansion

She works with programs to push for Governor Gretchen Whitmer's goal for universal pre-K.

But is now concerned that in the state's proposed 20 billion dollar school aid budget, some of the funding to expand these programs may only go to school districts and not local community-based programs.

State education leaders say the funding is used to open new programs around the state.

"Programs are able to use the grants for attracting and retaining talent so workforce shortages that we have heard about," MiLEAP early education director Emily Laidlaw said. "Facilities improvements, outreach materials and to improve their quality in terms of instructional material or other things that will benefit the kids in the classroom."

But Bozek says there are a number of reasons families in our neighborhoods may head to community-based programs rather than a public school program, whether it be distance, preference, or reluctance to join a larger institution. And that this funding could exclude a big population in Mid-Michigan.

"The bottom line is families could lose access to services in particular vulnerable and poor families would lose that access."

The budget bills need to be agreed upon in both the Senate and the House before it is enacted.

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