Have you heard about the cuts to early learning in Gov Dunleavy’s proposed FY 2020 budget? It zeroes out funding for the following:
- Parents as Teachers home visiting program
- PreK grants to school districts
- Head Start matching funds to receive federal dollars
- Best Beginnings
Let’s just look at Best Beginnings’ funding. Best Beginnings receives $320,000 through the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development. Of that total, $209,469 goes toward providing Imagination Library books across the state. This month, 18,195 children from birth to 5 received an age-appropriate, high-quality book in their mailboxes – at no cost to their families.
At $30 per child per year, that comes to $545,850 – more than twice the funding provided by the state. I’d say $336,381 represents a lot of community-based fundraising! These funds are a huge lever to raise private dollars. However, without the base of state funding, many if not most of the 28 Imagination Library affiliates in Alaska would either cease to exist or be able to serve only a small number of the children in their community. That means less families read together, more children without access to books in the home, and less parents learning every day how to support the early learning and development of their child.
I believe we will be heard! Legislators and their staff I spoke with earlier this week said they want to hear about the impacts these cuts would make on children, families, and communities. Tell your own personal story about:
- the value of young children having books in their home
- the value of parents (or other adults) reading with young children
- what the loss of Imagination Library would mean to you and your family
This is very powerful.
I encourage you to also include support for Head Start, Parents as Teachers, and PreK grants. If the parent, grandparent, aunt, and uncle of very one of the 18,195 Imagination Library children sent an email or made a phone call to their legislators, what an army of advocates that would be!
Visit our advocacy page to find your legislators and their contact information. And let us know what they tell you.
Your personal story, with the personal stories of all the rest of us together, will make a very BIG STORY!