STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1469
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 Education, to which was referred S.B. No. 1023, S.D. 1, H.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 to expand access to preschool and to implement program changes required by previous acts;
(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, including 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, Early Learning Board, Executive Office on Early Learning, University of Hawai‘i System, Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, Hawaii Council of Private Schools, Hawai‘i Children's Action Network Speaks!, Stonewall Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, Early Childhood Action Strategy, Rainbow Family 808, Commit to Keiki, Kamehameha Schools, The Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation, and Parents and Children Together. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from one individual. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Budget and Finance.
Your Committee finds that providing children access to high-quality preschools will better prepare them for success in the future. Your Committee further finds that the Executive Office on Early Learning implemented the Public Prekindergarten Program to meet the education needs of young children. Your Committee also finds that child care subsidies and tuition assistance programs, such as the Preschool Open Doors Program, help alleviate the financial burden many families face when attempting to access early learning opportunities. This measure expands both programs and will provide more families with increased access to affordable high-quality early learning opportunities.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Clarifying that the criteria to prioritize applications for the Public Prekindergarten Program shall include consideration for three-year-old children;
(2) Requiring the Department of Human Services to:
(A) Provide reimbursements to providers participating in the Preschool Open Doors Program, irrespective of the provider's tuition rate for a child; and
(B) Adjust the reimbursement rates for providers at least once every two years based on either a true cost of care or cost estimation model;
(3) Changing the effective date to June 30, 3000; and
(4) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity, consistency, and style.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Education that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 1023, S.D. 1, H.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it be referred to your Committee on Finance in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1023, S.D. 1, H.D. 2.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Education,
JUSTIN H. WOODSON, Chair