Advocates for improving pre-k quality got a bit of jolt last week when the House updated its budget proposal. The latest plan would transfer all the funding for the state's new pre-k grant program over to a pot of pre-k funds to deliver to all school districts without the quality standards included in the grant program. Meanwhile, in both the House and Senate, the additional pre-k dollars fall short of the amount needed to maintain the annual funding level provided to schools through the grant program.
Fortunately, the budget is far from final. We are urging legislators to provide $236 million to fully fund the high-quality pre-k grant program established in 2015. Eventually we would also like to see the funding for quality improvements provided in a more stable, predictable manner than the current grant system.
This week the House Appropriations Subcommittee on education and the Senate Finance workgroup on education are getting to work updating the education section of the budget. We invite you to call them to express your support for fully funding the pre-k quality grants:
Rep. Trent Ashby, Chair (R-Lufkin) 512-463-0508
Rep. Helen Giddings (D-DeSoto) 512-463-0953
Rep. Mary Gonzalez (D-El Paso) 512-463-0613
Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) 512-463-0631
Rep. Linda Koop (R-Richardson) 512-463-0454
Rep. John Raney (R-Bryan) 512-463-0698
Rep. Gary VanDeaver (R-New Boston) 512-463-0692
Sen. Larry Taylor, Chair (R-Pearland) 512-463-0111
Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) 512-463-0107
Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) 512-463-0109
Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) 512-463-0131
Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) 512-463-0123
If you prefer to reach them on Twitter, just click on their names above.