Governor Whitmer Announces Plan to Increase Preschool Funding
LANSING - Via a June 8 press release, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced changes to increase funding in the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP), a state-funded preschool program for four-year-old children.
The GSRP is a preschool program that provides full- or part-day services to children from families at or below 250% of the poverty line ($66,250 for a family of four).
Previously, the GSRP and other similar federal programs were only able to reach 66 percent of eligible children statewide. Currently, the GSRP provides preschool to 43,100 kids across Michigan, with an estimated 65,400 eligible for benefits.
From the statement: “We have a unique opportunity right now to make the type of investments in early education...that will pay massive dividends...for our children decades down the line,” Whitmer said. “The investments announced today provide access to all eligible children and will help narrow the achievement gap between high-income and low-income students.”
Governor Whitmer’s plan proposes a total of $405 million in increased funding; $255 million in federal dollars and $150 million in state dollars towards GSRP over the next three years.
An additional $50 million in federal funds was also allotted for expansion of the program, including an estimated $22.5 million for additional classrooms, $15 million for for transportation to/from early education, $7 million for teaching certification/credentials, and $5.5 million for web resources and other efforts to expand GSRP outreach.
Jeff Donofrio, President and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan was also quoted: “Research shows that the earlier we start investing in kids, the better the outcomes will be in education and in life. Investments in programs like GSRP not only will improve the lives of thousands of Michigan kids, it also will help many parents return to the workforce to build family-sustaining careers.”
The release in its entirety can be found in the link below.