LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday proposed more funding for the states no-cost preschool for thousands of 4-year-olds currently not in the system.
Finding a preschool can be challenging, according to the governor, because demand far exceeds supply when it comes to the Great Start Readiness Program.
She says more than 22,000 students who qualify cannot access the early childhood education program because there are no openings.
She wants the Legislature to allocate more money to make more room.
“Investments in preschool pay massive dividends down the line. They improve the health, the educational and social outcomes for kids for decades. Your lifetime health and wealth is determined by those early years,” Whitmer said.
“In the short-term more kids will attend preschool and get a head start on their education with a current research based curriculum. In the longer term we will see improved literacy performance by third grade, narrowed achievement gaps between low and high income students and higher high school graduation rates,” she said.
The governor is asking for more than $150 million a year to create another 17,000 spots for the program that is largely based on income.
The financial guidelines include making less than 250% of the federal poverty level which is roughly $66,000 a year for a family of four.