Another View: The ABC’s of passing SB 191

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Senator David Watters, the prime sponsor of SB 191, submitted a piece to Foster’s Daily Democrat about his bill to fund full-day kindergarten. Though the original bill provided full state funding for programs, the bill that was signed by the Governor provided an additional $1,100 per full-day kindergartner in state funding. Here’s an excerpt:

The signing of my Senate Bill 191 to increase funding for full-day kindergarten is a giant step in a journey that began in 1999, when Gov. Shaheen secured funding for building kindergarten classrooms. A few years later, a half-day program was instituted state-wide that counted each kindergartener as a half child for adequacy funding. Now, 70 percent of our communities including 80 percent of eligible children are in full-day programs, supported by local taxpayers. With bipartisan support for SB 191, and the leadership of Governor Sununu, our kids will now be funded at 80 percent, with an additional $1,100.

When Commissioner Edelblut and I visited Somersworth, which recently adopted full-day, we asked teachers about the results. They practically leapt from their chairs to describe educational results for an increasingly diverse population and for children in lower income households. A teacher added, “And we get to feed them twice.” How can a hungry child learn? Moreover, funding full-day kindergarten helps parents’ work schedules, employer recruitment, and property tax payers. Our constituents hunger for elected officials who will put politics aside and fight together for these benefits.

Some of the kindergartens who first went to new classrooms in 1999 may now have children entering kindergarten. The hard victories for education in New Hampshire don’t come quickly, and they must be bipartisan. Since SB 191 passed, another community has moved to full-day kindergarten, and others will follow. I will continue the fight for full funding, but it is time to celebrate our progress on the journey to a brighter future for our kids.

Source: Another View: The ABCs of Passing Senate Bill 191 | Foster’s Daily Democrat