Garden City group disappointed in defeat of preschool-grant bill

The Garden City Early Learning Collaborative (GCELC), a group of 10 community leaders representing various local organizations, is disappointed in the House’s defeat of House Bill 226. The bill was to approve the Preschool Development Grant (PDG) funds to support early childhood education (ECE) systems across the state.

Our collaborative has been working over the past two years to determine the needs of Garden City residents and families, much like the other 14 ECE collaboratives across Idaho. During this period of engagement, we talked with parents, families, early childhood educators, businesses, and local leaders to understand more about access to ECE opportunities in Garden City.

What we discovered was bleak and showed a great need for more opportunities. In a recent survey, 92% of family/community respondents reported that there aren’t enough child care providers in Garden City to serve the needs of young children, ages birth to 5. Even more concerning is that these statistics do not take into consideration the 220 centers that have closed across the state since September.

The House Members who voted “no” on this important bill are misunderstanding the reality of working families from across the state and the intent of the funds. The truth:

  • Idaho is one of only four states that does not provide any state funding to early childhood education. Even with the approval of this HB 226, this would have remained true.

  • The purpose of the grant is to engage families, local communities, business communities, business partners, early childhood educators, faith based organizations, schools and policy makers who are interested in improving school readiness and literacy.

  • A major goal of this grant is to maximize parental knowledge, choice and engagement with expanding the state’s efforts to complete the following:

    • Ensure families are provided information about quality and variety of early childhood programs including family supports for children.

    • Promote nurturing parent-child interactions and increase involvement by parents and family members in transitions between ECE out-of-home and home-based programs to elementary schools (public, private, charter).

  • One major activity of the grant is the Early Learning Institute – a series of educational and awareness opportunities offered to parents, grandparents, librarians, child care providers and other invested partners through free early learning resources and materials – all with an eye towards school readiness and literacy.

  • Child care and quality initiatives include center-based and home-based child care programs throughout Idaho.

The rejection of this bill is devastating to parents, families, and children across the state. Our communities deserve and demand our legislators do better.

We encourage interested individuals and groups to reach out to your lawmakers about what this funding means for your community, and the parents and families who are direct recipients of these funds.

If you are interested in learning more about how to get involved with the GCELC, please do not hesitate to reach out at [email protected]gmail.com.

Garden City Early Learning Cooperative

About Garden City Early Learning Cooperative

The Garden City Early Learning Collaborative (GCELC) is a group of 10 community leaders representing various local organizations.

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