§ Since the passage of the Bridge to Excellence Act of 2002, local school systems have been providing half-day prekindergarten for all eligible four-year olds - approximately 30,000 students per year.
§ Maryland's nationally recognized school finance system is built on per pupil funding.
§ However, prekindergarten students are NOT included in the annual September 30 enrollment counts for State and local education aid.
§ By not counting approximately 30,000 students as enrolled, the state funding laws that provide per pupil state and local funding for all students are not triggered.
§ Many school systems also provide a significant amount of full-day prekindergarten to these eligible students. Under this bill, providing full-day prekindergarten would remain entirely at the discretion of the local board - but when it's provided it would be fully funded.
§ Mandated prekindergarten benefits our most vulnerable economically disadvantaged children and local efforts to serve these students should receive the full benefit of the education funding formulas that apply to all other students.
§ Passage of Senate Bill 461 and House Bill 1433 is needed to guarantee that full, accurate and transparent per pupil funding is provided to support high quality prekindergarten programs.
Again, MABE encourages all local boards to contact legislators, submit testimony and be represented at these bill hearings. To voice SUPPORT for SB 461 (which is being heard on 2/24) - use these links to the Budget & Taxation Committee; and the B&T Committee Roster; and to voice SUPPORT for HB 1433 (which is being heard on 3/7) - use these links to the Ways and Means Committee; and the W&M Committee Roster.will be the content of your news article