Tell Your Lawmakers this Kindergarten Bill Deserves Support

Your lobby team at the Idaho Education Association will stand in support of legislation that formally gives school districts statewide the option of offering state-funded all-day kindergarten. If successful, this bill, which is likely to be discussed on Monday, would address a long-stated IEA-member goal that says a statewide “kindergarten program is necessary to the success of a child’s education.” 

Senate Bill 1315, sponsored by Sen. Carl Crabtree (R-Grangeville), is just one of three kindergarten bills that will likely be on Monday’s Senate Education Committee agenda. SB 1315’s changing the state’s education funding formulas to accommodate the new program offers the most straightforward implementation of all-day kindergarten.  

 The creation of an all-day statewide kindergarten program has been a stated goal of IEA members for decades. 

“As the most important education experts, all of you — the members of the IEA — understand just how to import kindergarten is for the early development of our students,” said IEA President and professional educator Layne McInelley. “Study after study has shown how full-day kindergarten contributes to school readiness, leads to higher academic achievement, improves literacy and mathematical skill development, and benefits children socially and emotionally. I hope you will join us in letting our lawmakers know the importance of seizing this moment on behalf of our students.” 

Click here to find your legislator and tell them to support SB 1315 and all-day kindergarten in Idaho. 

Currently, the State of Idaho provides funding support for school districts to offer half-day kindergarten, if the school district chooses. Idaho school districts that offer full-day kindergarten must supplement its funding through federal money, special levies or by charging students and parents. Under SB 1315, funding formulas would be modified to provide funding for a full-day program. Taking advantage of the funding to offer kindergarten would remain optional for school districts. 

The slate of kindergarten bills up for discussion by lawmakers this week come against the backdrop of Gov. Brad Little’s recommendation to provide an additional $47 million in literacy intervention money – the funding stream school districts often tap to provide kindergarten offerings. The governor’s popular recommendation prompted lawmakers to look at ways to create formal all-day kindergarten programming. 

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