2007 Regular Session
To: Education; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Chaney
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-21-51, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO IMPLEMENT A VOLUNTARY PILOT PROGRAM FOR PREKINDERGARTEN-AGE CHILDREN CONTINGENT UPON APPROPRIATIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-21-51, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-21-51. (1) As used in Sections 37-21-51 through 37-21-55, the term "preschool children" means any children who have not entered kindergarten.
(2) To ensure that all children have access to quality early childhood education and development services, the Legislature finds and declares the following:
(a) Parents have the primary duty to educate their young preschool children;
(b) The State of Mississippi can assist and educate parents in their role as the primary caregivers and educators of young preschool children; and
(c) There is a need to explore innovative approaches and strategies for aiding parents and families in the education and development of young preschool children.
(3) The State Board of Education shall implement a voluntary pilot program for four-year-old children beginning with the 2007-2008 school year contingent upon the availability of funds specifically appropriated therefor. An equal number of programs will be funded in each of the state's four (4) congressional districts. Pilot programs shall be selected for funding based upon a competitive request for proposals process. The Request for Proposals (RFP) shall be developed by an oversight committee representing the Mississippi Department of Education, the Mississippi Department of Human Services, the Mississippi Head Start Association, the Mississippi Head Start Collaboration Office and two (2) representatives from private/parochial child care programs. Grant criteria will require collaboration with other programs such as public school prekindergarten, licensed child care centers, and Head Start. Contingent upon appropriations, the State Department of Education shall conduct an evaluation of the preschool pilot programs and shall submit a report to the Legislature regarding the effectiveness of the pilot programs annually.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.