Improving Early Childhood Education

By: Lauren Kravets
By: Lauren Kravets
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ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Many school districts in Illinois want bigger budgets for early childhood education and it seems like state leaders are listening.
Representatives from the Illinois State Board of Education, the governor’s office, and other agencies heard from stakeholders today on how the state can improve early childhood education.

Anita Rumage with Circles of Learning in Rockford believes the income bracket to receive a voucher for the center should increase, they offer a fee scale based on income.

A family of four has to make less than $43,000 to qualify for a voucher. That means if a family gets a little raise, forcing them off the program, they might not be able to afford the full fee for child care.

"We get to the point where we have the ability for families to sustain themselves and then they go off the program... and I'd like to see that raised so families can stay on the program and continue their childcare,” Rumage said.

While state funding isn’t a big issue for Circles of Learning, it is for local school districts that provide some free early childhood services. For example, the Harlem School District gets a $110,000 grant every year but that’s only enough to cover one early childhood classroom, so they want more money to expand.

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