In Michigan, 6,390 children under the age of three are enrolled in Early Head Start, and 21 percent of 4-year olds are enrolled in preschool. However, child care costs in the state are the 12th highest in the nation, with average costs hovering around $10,114 for infant care. The state is working to alleviate this financial burden on families, and Gov. Rick Snyder proposed an increase in funding of $65 million for the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP). This funding would provide at least 16,000 more half-day preschool slots for at-risk 4-year-olds. The Detroit News also mentioned that support for early education is growing in the state as parents and providers have excitedly filled newly available pre-K seats.
- What the governor is saying: In Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2014 State of the State Address, he built on his already impressive financial investment of $65 million in early education programs in the previous year and proposed an additional $65 million investment in early childhood education this year to ensure that Michigan becomes a “no-wait state” for early learning.
- What’s happening in the legislature: The House Appropriations committee has passed both HB 5313, a general fund omnibus budget bill, and HB 5314, an education omnibus bill. Both bills provide increased funding for early childhood support and services proposed by the governor in his FY2015 budget plan including: expanding Healthy Kids Dental to include Macomb and Kalamazoo counties, increased funding for home visitation programs in northern and rural counties, increased rates and allowable hours for subsidized child care. In June 2014, the legislature approved a $65 million expansion of the state’s Great Start Readiness Program.
- Funding increases and additional support: Gov. Snyder’s latest budget request called for an additional $65 million increase in the Great Start Readiness Program to make Michigan a “no-wait state” for low-income students enrolling in preschool, creating an additional 16,000 seats for preschools. With the passage of the two appropriations bills, HB 5313 and HB 5314, the funding for the Great Start Readiness Program’s funding totals $239 million, and aligns with Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal to increase funding for the program to serve all eligible 4-year-olds and support program enhancements. Additionally, several organizations in the Southeast Michigan Early Childhood Funders Collaborative contributed to a new $4.5 million fund to benefit Head Start programs in Detroit, reports the Associated Press and MLive.com. Detroit was also one of five cities selected to receive federal funds for an Office of Head Start program. The $60 million of federal money will go towards the city’s Birth to Five pilot program to be implemented by community-based agencies that hope to serve 1,000 pregnant women and children 0-5.