Over 1,000 Sign-On to Oppose House Plan to Exclude CBOs from PreK for All 

Proposal would harm Michigan families, communities, and businesses reducing access to early education

LANSING, MI, June 3, 2024 — A total of 1,165 individuals, including 909 constituents from across the state and 256 organizations and businesses have signed on to voice their concerns regarding the House budget proposal. This proposal includes provisions that may potentially exclude community-based organizations (CBOs) from participating in the PreK for All initiative.

Opponents to this proposed change include families, early care and learning organizations, Head Start providers, intermediate school districts, major employers, and economic development organizations, among others. The change to this longstanding policy threatens families’ access to early care and education from birth to preschool.

“As families struggle to find early education, excluding CBOs from the Pre-K for All initiative would be a major missed opportunity,” stated Windy Carroll, Programs Director of Early Childhood and Extended Care at Our Savior Lutheran School in Lansing. “These organizations provide essential full-day and wrap-around care that many public-school programs cannot. Focusing on funding public school programs could prohibit access to high-quality preschool education.”

Community-based providers, including non-profit organizations, Head Start programs, and local private businesses, play a crucial role in offering Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP), the state’s public PreK program, and many have done so for decades.

Superintendent Lindquist of Muskegon ISD stated, “We see CBOs as an important partner that help provide childcare options for families.  Without the support of CBOs, it would have a detrimental effect on the overall childcare system in our broader community at a time when finding quality child care is difficult for families.”

Losing these neighborhood programs would result in the loss of early care and learning options for families and the closure or reduced capacity of local non-profits and small businesses across the state. Currently, nearly one in three state-funded GSRP PreK classrooms are operated by community-based providers.

“Michigan is struggling with a child care crisis. This proposal will limit access, diminish quality, and make the crisis worse,” said Kevin Stotts, President, Talent First.

The budget proposal also prohibits funding for GSRP expansion and new classrooms from going to community-based providers, reserving it exclusively for school-based classrooms.

LaTondra Walker-Mitchell from Macomb County shared, “My daughter is currently attending a community-based GSRP classroom, and it was an amazing transition for both her and I. As a parent, I appreciate being able to take my child to school earlier in the morning and pick her up later with the additional hours of care provided. Working parents benefit from the flexibility of having GSRP in community-based centers, so even those of us who work irregular or non-traditional hours can make sure our kids have access to quality care.”

Additionally, the proposal removes Governor Whitmer’s executive budget provision that (MiLEAP) the authority to implement the PreK for All Roadmap for Michigan four-year-olds. Michigan parents and organizations agree that this proposed budget would have a far-reaching impact on early care and education from birth to preschool. This includes harm to families seeking quality child care, community organizations and small businesses providing early care and education, and the state economy since employers rely on employees having access to quality early care and education for their children.

Christina Wood, Executive Director at EC3 in Lansing shared, “We are a non-profit CBO offering early care and learning for over 40 years. We depend on our PreK programs to be able to keep the cost of infant and toddler care down for our families. Excluding us is not the answer.”

Organizations and small businesses providing early care and education are an integral part of our communities and they are mostly operated by women, particularly women of color.

“The House budget proposal will have an impact on early care and learning organizations and small businesses led and owned by women and women of color, as well as the children and families they serve,” stated Alicia Guevara Warren, CEO at Early Childhood Investment Corporation. “This policy change will perpetuate systemic inequities in communities across the state. Early care and learning organizations and businesses have a significant impact by providing valuable jobs, particularly for women in low-income neighborhoods, while providing high-quality care for children in their communities. The potential consequences of this budget proposal are significant, and it is important for legislators to consider who will be most affected by these changes.”

If the legislature adopts these budget recommendations, it will severely damage

Michigan’s already fragile early care and education system as the state moves to implement PreK for All. The proposed changes by the Michigan House will potentially create challenges for working families, especially those from marginalized communities, in their ability to secure affordable and high-quality PreK care for their children.

Almost half of all four-year-olds currently enrolled in GSRP are children of color. Parents, employers, and communities rely on various early care and learning options across the state, and removing any one of these options will make it difficult for families to find new care solutions. Parents, caregivers, and providers are encouraged to contact their State House and Senate representatives to express their concerns.

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Created in 2005 to serve as a statewide leader in early childhood, ECIC collaborates to increase public and private investment in the earliest years of children’s lives, while elevating issues affecting young children and their families, to continuously improve Michigan’s comprehensive early childhood system. Our vision is to create a future where all young children in Michigan and their families thrive.