Last Friday Ready 4 K, Children’s Defense Fund, as well as many other children’s advocacy groups and local unions circulated a letter to Minnesota State Senate and House leaders urging them to keep their promise to fully fund early childhood programs.
With the budget situation as it is, it is understandable that legislators will have some tough decisions to make. However, with the benefits of early childhood care and education as plentiful as they are, it is essential that Minnesota maintains its commitment to these programs. Below the fold is the full text of the letter that was circulated.
Dear Legislative Leader,
Throughout the 2008 Legislative Session, the early care and education community has been given repeated assurance that funding for early childhood education–which includes child care–would not be cut. Although we understand the difficult task in addressing the state budget deficit, we are united in our disappointment that this has not been the case.
Our specific concern is over a provision originally proposed by the Senate and adopted by the conference committee for the Supplemental Appropriations Bill to transfer $9 million out of the Basic Sliding Fee child care appropriation. In a typical year, funds unspent by counties, due to projections with the current distribution formula, are redistributed to counties with families on child care waiting lists. This $9 million would provide child care to many of the approximately 3,700 families currently on the waiting list. The approach the conference committee has adopted is a missed opportunity to help families access quality early care and education.
We hope that in these last days of the session, you are able to live up to the promises made not to cut early childhood education. In fact, today is Child Care Provider Appreciation Day. Please show providers that you appreciate them: when other budget areas are seeing increases this year, we feel you may want to reconsider your final position on funding for young children and their families. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Ready 4 K
Child Care WORKS
Children’s Defense Fund
Minnesota Child Care Assoc.
Minnesota Head Start Assoc
AFSCME Council 5 Minnesota Child Care Resource & Referral Network
Alliance for Early Childhood Professionals Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Assoc.
Minnesota Community Education Assoc.
Minnesota Assoc. for Family and Early Education
Sheltering Arms Foundation Minnesota Assoc. for the Education of Young Children
Minnesota School-Aged Care Assoc.