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Early education advocates voice concerns over Michigan's state budget

Childcare advocates sound alarm over Michigan budget
Childcare advocates sound alarm over Michigan budget 02:00

(CBS DETROIT) — Childcare and early education advocates are concerned about Michigan's budget. They say they were pleased with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's proposal, but recent drafts in the state House and Senate could negatively impact providers. 

"The idea is if you take all the four-year-olds out and put them in school-based settings in a 4-year-old pre-K program without additional, without significant additional public funding or support for the childcare world we'll see the childcare system collapse in many areas," said Matt Gillard, the president of Michigan's Children, an advocacy group based in Lansing. 

Advocates representing early childhood education and small businesses called on the legislature to stick to Whitmer's original budget proposal. They say recent drafts in the House and Senate don't include an allocation of 30% of Great Start Readiness Program funds to community-based organizations, which they say could mean childcare and early education programs for little ones could close across the state. 

"One of the most concerning parts of the state House proposal is that it eliminates that 30% requirement," Gillard said. "This would have a huge negative impact on a lot of community providers across the state."

For Chana Edmond-Verley, who works with many small community providers in the Grand Rapids area, a change in the budget like this would mean the opposite of progress.    

"It really is going to represent backwards movement in a system that is already working that has a winning strategy that includes 30% of community-based organizations. It will decimate our forward movement," said Edmond-Verley.

CBS News Detroit contacted the leadership of the Michigan House Education Committee for comment on these concerns but did not hear back at the time this article was published.

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