STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1255
RE: S.B. No. 1023
Honorable Scott K. Saiki
Speaker, House of Representatives
Thirty-Second State Legislature
Regular Session of 2023
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Human Services, to which was referred S.B. No. 1023, S.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO EARLY LEARNING,"
begs leave to report as follows:
(1) Appropriate funds for the Preschool Open Doors program;
(2) Expand the types of entities from which Preschool Open Doors service providers may obtain accreditation;
(3) Clarify the ages of children who can participate in the Preschool Open Doors program and the priority with which they should be served; and
(4) Authorize the Preschool Open Doors Special Fund to accept federal funds.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Department of Human Services, Executive Office on Early Learning, Early Learning Board, Kamehameha Schools, Stonewall Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Children's Action Network Speaks!, Commit to Keiki, Early Childhood Action Strategy, Hawai‘i Community Foundation, Parents and Children Together, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, and one individual. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Budget and Finance.
Your Committee finds that children who attend high-quality preschools are better prepared for success later in life. Your Committee further finds that the Executive Office on Early Learning's Public Pre-Kindergarten Program provides free public pre-kindergarten options in thirty-seven classrooms across thirty-four Department of Education campuses. Child care subsidies and tuition assistance programs, such as Preschool Open Doors, help eligible families afford child care and preschool tuition rates, thereby alleviating the financial burden many families face when attempting to access early learning opportunities. This measure expands access to both programs, which will provide more families with access to affordable high-quality early learning opportunities.
Your Committee notes the Department of Budget and Finance's objection in testimony to the inclusion of federal funds in the Preschool Open Doors Special Fund. Your Committee also notes the recommendation of the Department of Human Services that the accreditation requirements for child care facilities participating in the Preschool Open Doors Program be on a voluntary basis until the State's child care workforce is more stabilized or subsidized. Your Committee further notes the Department of Human Services' request that, should the expansion of the Preschool Open Doors Program to include three-year-old children be contemplated as a permanent expansion, any appropriation made in support of this program be included in the executive budget.
Your Committee has amended this measure by making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity, consistency, and style.
Your Committee respectfully requests your Committee on Finance, should it deliberate on this measure, to consider an appropriation amount of $39,836,000 for fiscal year 2024-2025.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Human Services that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 1023, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1023, S.D. 1, H.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Education.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Human Services,
JOHN M. MIZUNO, Chair