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Early childhood education advocates worry about loss of funding with proposed budget

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BATON ROUGE- The original proposed budget for early childhood education was $52 million. However, that budget was cut down to $14 million in a house committee meeting on May 1.

The budget cut prompted advocates for early learning to speak out on the Capitol steps Monday morning.

"$14 million does not fully address Louisiana's serious childcare issues in our state," says Libby Sonnier, executive director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children.

Early childhood education is comprised of all state-funded daycares and head start facilities for children six months to prekindergartners.

Superintendent Cade Brumley says the new budget would seriously impact the program's reach.  

"The number that we submitted would've held us at our present level. What we're seeing in the budget right now would certainly reduce the number of children that can be served," Brumley said.

He says the new budget only protects families already in the program.

"What they are considering right now is... how much money would be necessary to prevent actually having to move children and families from the program. That's where the $14 million number really is coming from."

Advocates for early learning say lawmakers have to do more to help Louisiana's children.

"We can not stand by while a program that impacts all of us is gutted," Sonnier said.

The budget will be voted on and sent to the Governor's desk to be signed Thursday afternoon. 


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