Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0087
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Full Text of HR0087  101st General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, High-quality, early childhood care and education
3have been shown by decades of respected research to play a
4positive role in the learning and development of young
5children, including greater chances of entering school
6prepared to succeed academically and behaviorally, graduate
7high school on time, and avoid criminal trouble; and
8    WHEREAS, Early learning is essential for reaching the State
9of Illinois' overarching objectives for improving education
10and its outcomes, including the goal of at least 60 percent of
11residents holding a post-secondary education degree by the year
122025; and
13    WHEREAS, In 2006, the State of Illinois adopted in statute
14the "Preschool for All" goal of increasing young children's
15access to voluntary, high-quality, early learning programs,
16over time and as resources allow, with priority attention
17focused on children who struggle the most; and
18    WHEREAS, The State of Illinois has accordingly and wisely
19increased its investments in early learning over the course of
20several years, gradually strengthening access to preschool and
21birth-to-3 services for communities statewide; and



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1    WHEREAS, Tens of thousands of young children still lack
2access to the high-quality early learning programs that their
3parents seek for them; and
4    WHEREAS, Too many low-income, working parents still
5struggle to find affordable, reliable, high-quality options
6for ensuring their children are in good child care settings
7during the hours when parents are on the job; and
8    WHEREAS, The quality of early childhood services depends in
9large part on solid program infrastructure, ranging from
10well-qualified teachers and support personnel to supportive
11data systems; and
12    WHEREAS, Infrastructure also includes safe,
13developmentally appropriate classrooms and related physical
14space for young children to learn; and
15    WHEREAS, High-quality, early childhood facilities have
16been shown to help children grow by improving play interaction,
17lessening conflicts, and advancing their school readiness, as
18characterized by Temple University's Family and Children's
19Policy Initiative; and
20    WHEREAS, The national Bipartisan Policy Center recently
21declared that "safe and developmentally appropriate early care



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1and learning programs are an essential component of building
2healthy and economically sustainable communities in which
3families and young children thrive", and that "early learning
4programs are critical to the health and success of local
5communities and the national economy"; and
6    WHEREAS, The Bipartisan Policy Center adds that
7"investments in early care and learning facilities should be an
8element of federal, state, and local economic-development
9strategies"; and
10    WHEREAS, Illinois policymakers responded to communities'
11brick-and-mortar early learning needs and set a sensible
12precedent in their 2009 capital plan by including a $45 million
13appropriation from the Build Illinois Bond Fund for this
14State's first Early Childhood Construction Grant program; and
15    WHEREAS, The Capital Development Board received 227
16applications totaling more than $539 million in requests for
17these construction and renovation resources, or about 12 times
18the amount of grant funding available, illustrating the
19enormous scope of communities' early childhood capital needs;
21    WHEREAS, Funding limitations in 2011 restricted resulting
22grant awards to only 6 percent of the project applicants from



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1school districts and not for profit providers in communities
2with particularly underserved populations of children under
3age 5; and
4    WHEREAS, Funding delays, exacerbated by the State's recent
5budget impasse, prevented some of this funding from ever being
6delivered to approved grantees for desperately needed early
7childhood projects; and
8    WHEREAS, The urgent demand for such assistance remains, as
9demonstrated in the 2018 Capital Needs Assessment Survey of
10Schools conducted by the Illinois State Board of Education,
11which reveals the need for over 200 additional preK classrooms
12statewide; and
13    WHEREAS, Those ISBE survey results reflect only the needs
14of the 350 school districts that responded to the board's query
15and do not include the needs of still other school systems; and
16    WHEREAS, Those ISBE survey results also exclude the needs
17of the hundreds of non-school, community-based providers of
18early childhood services that help relieve capacity pressure on
19maxed-out schools, while also meeting the needs and choices of
20parents in their own neighborhoods and localities; therefore,
21be it



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3one of the most urgently required, realistic, and important
4ways to accommodate the early childhood program needs of today
5and to accommodate growth for meeting their future needs is to
6provide stronger support for such programs' physical
7infrastructure; and be it further
8    RESOLVED, That the next state capital program to meet
9Illinois' physical infrastructure needs should reflect that
10reality, upholding the important precedent set in the 2009
11Early Childhood Construction Grant Program; and be it further
12    RESOLVED, That Illinois is urged to dedicate a minimum of
13$250 million from state bond sources for the purpose of
14supporting critical, early childhood building and renovation
15projects for approved grant applicants from school districts
16and community-based service providers; and be it further
17    RESOLVED, That our State should prioritize such help for
18applicants from communities with particularly underserved
19populations of children under the age of 5 years of age; and be
20it further
21    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
22delivered to the offices of the Governor, the Capital



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1Development Board, the Illinois State Board of Education, and
2the Illinois Department of Human Services.