Governor pushes early educationUPDATED 8:22 PM HST Jan 09, 2014Video Transcript
Helping hundreds of kids... get educated SOONER. The governor is launching his campaign for a new pre- kindergarten program. As KITV-4's Lara Yamada shows us... it hinges on convincing lawmakers and taxpayers... the time for MILLIONS in funding... is NOW. GOV 1536-38 It is a priority. The time is now. He's called it his "highest priority." But last year, Governor Abercrombie's 30 million dollar plan to fund an early learning program fell far short -- Hawaii lawmakers finding only 6 million to fund 900 out of 35-HUNDRED pre- school ready kids. MATAYOSHI 2348-58 You can see the difference for kids that have had that opportunity, and you really yearn for the kids that haven't had that opportunity. At a press conference today, the governor announced his plan this legislative session: a $4.5 million dollar slice from his supplemental budget, to pay for a scaled down pre-kindergarten program. It would use 32 classrooms on 30 state elementary school campuses statewide --focusing first -- on low income and rural area kids. Principal Rodney Moriwake says it will build on the benefits of his two pre-school classrooms -- those paid for by federal funding. RODNEY 4036-43 You not only see it, but you hear it from your staff, as far as kids improving socially as well as academically. TOKUDA 4239- 44 Putting together a publicly funded early learning program for Hawaii has not been an easy road, not by any stretch. Senator Jill Tokuda says Hawaii is now only one of 10 states left in the country that does not have a publicly funded early education program. But says... the governor's proposal last year, was just too big for lawmakers to handle. This year, with the benefit of a budget surplus, she plans to persue more funding -- to help other families and their kids -- get an earlier start in education. TOKUDA 4328-32 Now it's about taking those next steps to make sure we do more. Lara Yamada KITV4 News.