Snyder gets praise for efforts to put more money into early childhood education

Feb 6, 2014

This week, Governor Rick Snyder made good on his promise to boost preschool spending.

Today he got a chance to talk to some parents, teachers and school administrators in Grand Rapids about the proposal.

About a dozen four-year-olds sat in a circle around Gov. Snyder. He read them "Snowmen at Work," a children’s tale about what snowmen do for a living.

“Are they in school just like you?” Snyder asked the group. 

"Yeah!” they replied in unison.

“You have fun at school?"

"Yeah!”

The preschoolers gave Snyder a book they made that tells all the reasons why they love going to class.

Enthusiasm didn’t come just from the kids. Parents, teachers, people on the school board all took time to thank Snyder for following through on his promise to put more money into early childhood education.

“I presented the principle of getting rid of the waiting list last year and just simply said it would take two years to get to there and so this is the second part of that. So I’m fairly optimistic that we’ll see this happen,” Snyder said.

Snyder is asking lawmakers for an additional $65 million, which would fund 16,000 additional half-day preschool spots.

Grand Rapids Public Schools district spokesman John Helmholdt says the district would like to see some of that money pay for transportation to get low-income kids to preschool, and for programs that run all day.

“It’s more challenging for mom and dad to have to get off work and handle a half-day preschool. So they may not be able take advantage of this opportunity unless it’s an all-day opportunity and so the governor was very receptive and we’re just very thankful,” Helmholdt said.