Rep. Joel Kitchens wants more information about a bill designed to help shore up the finances of childcare centers in the state. Co-authored by Reps. Joy Goeben of Hobart and Karen Hurd of Fall Creek, school districts would be required to contract with eligible child care and Head Start programs to provide a public 4K option that is still tuition-free. This would send at least 95 percent of the funding that goes to the school districts for enrolled students to the childcare centers they work with and the parents choose. On the heels of the bill’s announcement, United Way of Door County Child Care Coordinator Molly Gary says the plan would provide a guaranteed and much-needed revenue source for childcare facilities. Meanwhile, Sevastopol School District Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says it would take critical funding from schools at a time when districts are cutting where they can to make ends meet. Kitchens reflected on his time on the Sturgeon Bay School Board when they contracted with local providers for 4K, something the school district now handles at Sawyer Elementary School. He says he needs to see more from the bill on how can be fair for everyone.
Kitchens expects the bill to go through one of his hearings as the chairperson of the Assembly Committee on Education. He commended other ideas, such as tax credits and business incentives, to fund child care in the state.