STAND. COM. REP. NO. 514
RE: S.B. No. 1023
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-Second State Legislature
Regular Session of 2023
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Education, to which was referred S.B. No. 1023 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 and Executive Office on Early Learning to expand access to preschool and to implement required program changes;
(2) Expand the types of entities from which a Preschool Open Doors service provider may obtain accreditation;
(3) Authorize the Preschool Open Doors Special Fund to accept federal funds; and
(4) Appropriate 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, University of Hawai‘i System, Hawaii Children's Action Network Speaks!, Early Childhood Action Strategy, Hui for Excellence in Education, Commit to Keiki, Kamehameha Schools, and one individual. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Early Learning Board.
Your Committee finds that access to preschool is a social justice issue for the State, as children who attend early learning or high quality preschool programs are better equipped for success. Presently, the Public Pre-Kindergarten Program administered by the Executive Office on Early Learning provides free public pre-kindergarten in thirty-seven classrooms across thirty-four Department of Education campuses. Additionally, childcare subsidies and tuition assistance programs, such as Preschool Open Doors, assists eligible Hawaii families to afford childcare and preschool tuition rates to prepare keiki for their academic careers and educational development. As the costs of childcare and pre-kindergarten programs serve as a formidable barrier to early childhood education, this measure will expand opportunities for Hawaii's young keiki, allowing future generations to grow and thrive.
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 and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Education,
MICHELLE N. KIDANI, Chair