Rep. Tuck Worked with Gov. Dunleavy to Protect Alaska’s Investment in Early Education
ANCHORAGE-Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced today that he would restore funding for early education programs when he signs House Bill 2001 later this week. The governor made the announcement during a ceremony today in Anchorage attended by Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage). HB 2001 restores all the funding for early education programs previously vetoed by the governor.
“Alaska’s budget situation has forced lawmakers and the Governor to make some tough choices. I am thankful that the Governor decide to continue investing in our children’s early education, knowing that this is the best return on an investment we get from public money. With competing demands on our budget, I am proud of all the parents, teachers, and early education advocates who repeatedly made the case that investing in our children is good for a child’s learning career, families, and communities,” Rep. Tuck said.
HB 2001 includes $8.8 million for early learning coordination including $6.8 million in funding for Head Start programs in Alaska, which will prevent the loss of 540 spots for students and the loss of 150 jobs statewide. Head Start, which serves low-income children five and younger, is the largest provider of early education services in the state. The state funding is used as a match to obtain federal funding. Last year federal funding totaled $46 million.
HB 2001 also includes $1.2 million for Early Education Grants used to fund several Pre-K programs across the state. The budget bill also includes $320,000 for Best Beginnings grants and $474,700 for the Parents as Teachers program, which helps empower parents to teach their children before they enter kindergarten.
“The fiscal challenges facing our state are man-made, but they are not children made. I want to thank the Governor for recognizing that fact,” Rep. Tuck added. “The research shows that spending money on a child’s early education is a great investment in the future. By committing to signing HB 2001 with the early education money included Governor Dunleavy is recognizing the importance of that long-term investment.”
Governor Dunleavy confirmed during this morning’s announcement that he would be signing House Bill 2001 later this week.