HONOLULU, Hawaii – Publicly funded pre-school is shaping up to be the big debate in 2014. On Monday, a joint senate and house committee gave the governor’s Executive Office on Early Learning a thorough questioning on the state’s plans to initiate a trial prekindergarten program.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee and the House Finance Committee hammered GG Weisenfeld, the Director of the Office of Early Learning, on all aspects of the program, including how the office chose the 32 schools for the trial program (at the time, the particular schools were not yet announced.)
Some lawmakers wondered why the $5.4 million in funding was not be taken out of the Department of Human Services’ Preschool Open Doors program. Some also wondered if the trial program was premature, considering the legislature will be considering a constitutional amendment that would allow for public-private partnerships to launch a statewide early childhood learning program.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the Hawaii State Department of Education planned to announce plans for a prekindergarten program on Thursday, at a press conference at Princess Victoria Kaiulani Elementary School in Honolulu.