April 11, 2012

(Denver) –Colorado House Republicans killed an amendment to the budget today to fund the Early Childhood Literacy Act.  Rep. Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood) offered the amendment to the budget to ensure schools have adequate funding to implement the Early Childhood Literacy Act, a measure supported by the governor and business groups that passed the House last week with bipartisan support and is currently in the Senate.

The amendment would have taken money from the private prison fund that is not needed due to decreasing incarceration rates and funded this critical bill.

“Using the money we have saved by closing prisons, we can move the next generation of Colorado away from the jail houses and in to the world economy,” Rep. A. Kerr said.

Many critics of the Early Childhood Literacy Act, HB12-1238, were opposed on the grounds of lack of funding for the bill. This bill would take $5.4 million from the private prisons fund and help fund the program to help ensure Colorado children can read by third grade.

“I supported the original bill but with concerns about the lack of funding for the program, and this amendment addresses those very legitimate concerns,” Rep. A. Kerr said. “I believe ensuring our children can read is vital to their futures, but I also believe our school districts have severe lack of funding to implement this program efficiently. This amendment will fund this program, hence helping guarantee its success, which will help guarantee success in our children’s futures.”

HB12-1238, sponsored by Reps. Hamner and Tom Massey (R-Poncha Springs), is intended provide better assessments and enhanced early intervention services for students in kindergarten through third grade to help children read.

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