Funding for New Pre-k Grant Program Falls Short in Texas Budget Bills

For Immediate Release
CONTACT:  Peter Clark, 512-417-9262

AUSTIN - Today Stephanie Rubin, CEO of the non-profit children's policy organization Texans Care for Children, released the following statement on funding for the state's new HB 4 pre-k grant program in the House and Senate proposed budgets for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019:

"Texas schools are currently in the first school year of the state's new pre-k grant program, receiving $734 per pre-k student, or about half of the $1,500 per student originally envisioned for HB 4. That funding was provided to participating school districts prior to the current school year thanks to a $118 million appropriation from the Legislature. There is high demand for the program all across the state, and with proper support from the Legislature it can make a real difference in improving student success in Texas.

"However, the House appropriations bill only continues the funding for the first year of the state's two-year budget, providing $117 million for Fiscal Year 2018. The Senate appropriations bill provides $75 million per year for both years of the biennium, cutting funding from $734 per student to less than $500, assuming program participation continues at the save level.

"If the final budget reflects either one of these approaches, it would be bad news for Texas kids and a huge setback for the new pre-k grant program just as it's getting off the ground.

"Nonetheless, we recognize that these proposals are the start of the budget process, not the end. We are optimistic that state leaders will come together to fully fund the pre-k grant program and support high-quality pre-k. We appreciate the hard work that has gone into crafting these budget proposals and we look forward to working with state leaders as the budget process continues."