Early Childhood and K-12 Education funding in our County is at risk in the state budget!
As an advocate for children and education, you know that the first years of life are most critical to school success!
There are 3 ways to get involved:
1. Contact our Legislators
2. Attend “Are We Crazy About Our Kids?” Screening & Discussion on April 30th
3. Vote YES on May 5th for the Local Special Education Millage
1. Please Contact Legislators Now (4/21 – 4/23)
(Leaving a voice message is fine if you are unable to phone during office hours.)
Please call or email the following legislators with your message:
Representative David Maturen
Representative John Bizon, MD
Representative Brandt Iden
Senator Margaret O’Brien
Representative Al Pscholka
Representative Jon Hoadley
What to Say:
“Hello, My name is __________, I’m a voter in __________ County and I also [work/worship at___/am a member of___/am a parent]. I am very concerned about support for early childhood and K-12 education in our community and our state. I want to let Senator/Representative _____ know how important it is to:
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- Fund Education to Equitably Address the Needs of All K-12 Learners;
- Provide Adequate Funding to Achieve and Sustain High Quality Preschool for 4 year olds; and
- Increase Access to Quality Child Care.”
>> The conference committees are meeting this week and next to finalize these budgets. In just 5 minutes you can advocate for ALL of our children to have the opportunity to be successful and build the future of our County and State. Call NOW. Before it’s too late.
BACKGROUND OF OUR ASKS:
Fund Education to Equitably Address the Needs of All K-12 Learners: Provide classroom funding to serve the number of children with special needs, children living in poverty, and English language learners enrolled, so that all children in every school district have the opportunity to succeed in school.
Provide Adequate Support to Achieve and Sustain High Quality Preschool for 4 year olds: Boost GSRP funding by $1000 per half day slot over a three year period to fund the actual cost of high quality preschool. Establish a state grant fund to support preschool teacher mentoring and coaching to improve quality.
Increase Access to Quality Child Care: Help more families who are working in low wage jobs afford high quality child care by increasing the income threshold for receiving DHS reimbursement for child care, the length of time they may qualify for assistance while stabilizing employment, and incentives to providers to provide high quality child care.
2. Attend “Are We Crazy about our Kids?” Screening & Discussion
Thursday, April 30, 2015, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Dining Room, 247 W. Lovell St., Kalamazoo 49007
The goal of the partner organizations in the Raising Kalamazoo County Initiative, in collaboration with the upcoming PBS series the Raising of America, is to build awareness about the critically important years of early childhood and improve the ways we respond and support these years as individuals, families, congregations, organizations and together as a County. Please come and help us fill St. Luke’s Fellowship Hall to watch “Are We Crazy About Our Kids?” and discuss its importance for our community and how we can respond
3. Vote YES on the Local Special Education Millage on May 5
On May 5, every voter within Kalamazoo County will be able to vote on a Special Education Millage. For years, special education services have been funded through a dedicated special education source. But due to declining budgets, these funds have not kept up with mandated service needs. Right now, Special Education services in our county are under-funded but they must be provided. That forces our districts to fund the shortfall from their already limited general education budgets. Across Kalamazoo County our districts are now funding $11 million of special education costs this way. If we do not pass this millage on May 5, the quality of education for all children will suffer.