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Tuesday
Jan292019

Stewart Bill to Jumpstart Creation of Pre-K Classrooms Statewide Passes Education Committee

SB 230 Expands Public School Outlay to Include Early Childhood Education

 Sen. Mimi Stewart’s bill to jumpstart the creation of Pre-K classrooms around the state by expanding the Public School Capital Outlay Act to include early-childhood education programs passed the Senate Education Committee on Monday.

“We can’t wait any longer to invest in building high-quality Pre-K classrooms,” Stewart said. “Early childhood education gets kids ready to learn and to succeed. We must support these effective programs with the modern, dynamic facilities and classrooms that will best support early learning.”

Specifically SB 230 allows school districts to apply for capital outlay funds that will be awarded as a grant to school districts for the purpose of creating Pre-K classrooms. The grant award process was set up as a result of the Zuni lawsuit. Adding Pre-K to the public school capital outlay ensures equitable funding.

“Pre-K is going to be a key component of public education in New Mexico,” Stewart said, “so it makes sense that funding Pre-K is a part of the public school capital outlay process.”

In addition to making funding available to eligible school districts, SB 230 also calls for the establishment of standards for Pre-K classrooms.

“Early childhood education is critical to student success,” Stewart said, “but it has to be done right. Only with clear, research-based standards for Pre-K classrooms can we ensure that all students are learning in safe, vibrant classrooms that meet the unique needs of early learners.”

SB 230 now goes to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.

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A retired teacher, Senate Majority Whip Mimi Stewart has served two years as chair of the Legislative Education Study Committee. Prior to becoming a state Senator, Stewart served 20 years in the New Mexico House of Representatives, where she chaired the Education Committee. Stewart lives in Albuquerque. Learn more at www.mimistewart.org and follow her on Twitter @Sen_MimiStewart and on Instagram @mimistewart9.