There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that the Legislature has passed an operating budget that includes funding for early childhood — $320,000 for Best Beginnings, $500,000 for Parents as Teachers, and $2 million for PreK grants. A big Thank You! to all those concerned Alaskans who met with, called, and emailed legislators, encouraging them to provide these resources to support young children and their families. Our communications work isn’t finished though. Now it’s our job to thank legislators for standing up for early childhood. You can find contact information for members of the budget conference committee, leadership, and your own legislators here. Please let them know their vote for early childhood was the right vote.
And now for the bad news. The Legislature has not yet come up with a fiscal plan to be sure Alaska is the healthy, thriving state we want it to be now and into the future for our children and grandchildren. As the legislative session began this year, the Alaska Early Childhood Advocacy Group (AECAG) came together and sent a resolution in support of a sustainable long-term Alaska State Fiscal Plan to address the fiscal budgetary gap. In addition to Best Beginnings, organizations that signed the resolution include Alaska Children’s Trust, All Alaska Pediatric Partnership, thread, Alaska Head Start Association, Alaska Infant Learning Program Association, Parents as Teachers Alaska State Office, and all Alaska AEYC Affiliates.
The resolution ends with this statement: Be it further resolved that the Alaska Early Childhood Advocacy Group supports a Legislature that puts Alaska’s young children and families, our future, first by taking the necessary steps to provide all Alaskans with a long-term fiscal plan during the 2017 Legislative session creating economic viability for this year and years to come. Click here to read the resolution.
Whatever your opinion is about how we get there, I encourage you to let legislators know how you feel about a real, long-term fiscal plan.