STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1708
RE: H.B. No. 1362
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Ways and Means, to which was referred H.B. No. 1362, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO ACCESS TO LEARNING,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to facilitate the provision of early childhood education.
More specifically, the measure:
(1) Establishes the Hawaii early childhood educator stipend program to address the shortage of early childhood educators;
(2) Repeals the prohibition against the Department of Education establishing private partnership funded prekindergarten classrooms;
(3) Beginning with the 2024 school year, changes the cutoff date from July 31 to December 31 by which a child must be at least five years of age to be enrolled in kindergarten;
(4) Provides that each early learning program and preschool program may use available classrooms for public preschool programs statewide;
(5) Requires the application of a uniform assessment for public and charter school kindergarten students;
(6) Gives priority for entering the preschool open doors program to children who miss the cutoff date to enter kindergarten;
(7) Extends certain dates relating to, and effective dates for implementation of, Act 46, Session Laws of Hawaii 2020;
(8) Authorizes educational data to be shared using an existing data system; and
(9) Appropriates moneys for one full-time equivalent (1.0 FTE) position to coordinate, staff, and facilitate the implementation of Act 46, Session Laws of Hawaii 2020.
Your Committee received written comments in support of this measure from the Board of Education, Executive Office on Early Learning, State Council on Developmental Disabilities, Early Learning Board, Hawaii Association of School Psychologists, HE‘E Coalition, Early Childhood Action Strategy, Hawaii Children's Action Network Speaks!, and seventeen individuals.
Your Committee received written comments on this measure from the Department of Education, Department of Human Services, Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii Association for the Education of Young Children, and one individual.
Your Committee finds that workers in the early childhood education field face a number of challenges, including low wages. As a result, the recruitment and retention of those workers can be difficult. Your Committee believes that it is appropriate for the State to support individuals who pursue careers in early childhood education, which will help the State meet its goal of increasing access to early learning programs.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Authorizing the Department of Education to directly accept private funding for the purpose of establishing public prekindergarten programs; provided that:
(A) The Department shall comply with section 302L-7, Hawaii Revised Statutes; and
(B) The Department, the Executive Office on Early Learning, and the person providing the private funding shall sign a memorandum of agreement or understanding;
(2) Deleting language that changes the cutoff date from July 31 to December 31 by which a child must be at least five years of age to be enrolled in kindergarten;
(3) Replacing a reference to Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education with a reference to "an organization whose mission is to strengthen the education pipeline from early childhood through postsecondary education and training with data-informed decision making, advocacy, and policy coordination;"
(4) Deleting a requirement that the Department of Human Services and the Executive Office on Early Learning submit a report to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2024;
(5) Including the Executive Office on Early Learning among the state agencies that are required to share data through the statewide longitudinal data system;
(6) Clarifying that certain moneys appropriated from the Hawaiian early learning trust fund shall not be made available to a program if the program is not licensed by the Department of Human Services;
(7) Requiring certain child care centers within the University of Hawaii at Hilo to be licensed by the Department of Human Services by an unspecified date;
(8) Changing the proposed new effective date of section 8 of Act 46, Session Laws of Hawaii 2020, from July 1, 2023, to the approval date for that Act; and
(9) Making technical nonsubstantive changes for purposes of clarity, consistency, and style.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Ways and Means that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1362, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1362, H.D. 1, S.D. 2.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Ways and Means,
DONOVAN M. DELA CRUZ, Chair