The Latest: Hawaii lawmakers worried about preschool cost
HONOLULU (AP) — The Latest on Gov. David Ige’s state of the state address (all times local):
Leaders of the Hawaii House of Representatives are concerned about how much it will cost to realize Gov. David Ige’s proposal to expand pre-kindergarten in public schools across the state.
Speaker Scott Saiki said Tuesday the House shares governor’s goal of establishing universal preschool.
But Majority Leader Della Au Belatti says it would cost the state $500 million to use existing space at schools for pre-kindergarten classes and expand other schools to accommodate the additional classes.
She says the proposal would have a “huge,” long-term effect on the budget.
Ige told lawmakers in his state of the state address he wants to create universal pre-school in part by making elementary schools pre-kindergarten through fifth grade instead of the current kindergarten through grade six.
Gov. David Ige wants to create universal public preschool in Hawaii by making elementary schools pre-kindergarten through fifth grade instead of the current kindergarten through grade six.
Ige told lawmakers in his state of the state address on Tuesday that grade six would become part of middle schools.
The governor says Hawaii needs more than 300 public pre-kindergarten classrooms. He says this is a long-term goal, but the state doesn’t have to wait to start until it has funding for all of it.
He says phasing-in public preschool will give the state the time to ensure that it has qualified preschool teachers to staff the classes.
The speech is the first state of the state address of Ige’s second term.