Senate Passes Pre-Kindergarten Act

The Senate voted unanimously in favor of SB 332 Prekindergarten Expansion Act of 2014 yesterday.  The Act, sponsored by the Administration, expands prekindergarten services to four-year-old children from families whose income is no more than 300% of the federal poverty guidelines by establishing a competitive grant program to provide funding to qualified public and private prekindergarten providers.

According to the Department of Legislative Services, if funds are provided for the Prekindergarten Expansion Grant Program in the State budget, then at least the same amount must be provided in subsequent years, thus this bill establishes a mandated state appropriation beginning in 2016. Under amendments adopted by the Senate Budget & Taxation Committee,

A qualified vendor that has received a prekindergarten expansion grant in the current year shall be awarded a grant in the next year if the qualified vender continues to satisfy the requirements established under this section.
For more information about the bill, see the bill text or the fiscal note or this coverage from the Washington Post.