For Immediate Release
Contact: Peter Clark, 512-473-2274
Austin - Today Texas House leaders unveiled HB 3, their school finance legislation for this session. Among other provisions, the bill would provide school districts with additional funding for early childhood education. Under the legislation, districts that receive that funding would be required to provide voluntary full-day, high-quality pre-k for four-year-olds who meet the current pre-k eligibility requirements.
Districts receiving the funding could seek a waiver from the pre-k requirement if they lack the necessary classroom space or for other limited reasons, but districts would be required to seek partnerships with other public or private entities, such as child care centers, before any waiver would be considered by the Texas Education Agency.
The state currently funds half-day (three-hour) pre-k, although some school districts use local funds to provide full-day (six-hour) pre-k.
HB 3 must now go through the legislative process before becoming law.
Following the release of the bill, Stephanie Rubin, CEO of Texans Care for Children, issued the following statement:
"We're thrilled to see that full-day, high-quality pre-k is included in the bill. House leaders clearly recognize that strong pre-k programs lead to more kids starting kindergarten with the skills they need to succeed and more kids becoming strong readers by third grade."