January 14, 2016
Now the governor is in real trouble.
When he first took office, Governor Sam Brownback gave priority to early childhood education.
Under pressure from his overzealous income tax cuts, the governor is wielding an ax over the heads of those little kids in his proposed budget for the coming year.
He wants to sweep $50.6 million from the Children’s Initiative Fund, which is endowed with tobacco settlement money to be used for early childhood programs.
He wants to eliminate the Early Head Start program for three- and four-year-olds.
This program operates in 56 counties and helps many young rural children prepare for school.
His proposed sweep from the Children’s Initiative Fund comes on top of sweeps of $42 million in early 2015 and $9 million this past November.
Those sweeps are starting to cut sharply into monies for current early childhood programs across the state, according to Shannon Cotsoradis, president and CEO of Kansas Action for Children and a board member of Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund, which administers the Children’s Initiative Fund.
All this sweeping puts money set aside for specific purposes into the state’s general fund, where lawmakers have the responsibility to decide how to use it.
Now that the governor has reneged on his promise to the young children of Kansas, we hope the Legislature will make good on that promise — and try to save what is left of the governor’s credibility.