Turner press conference EarlyChildhoodEducation


SPRINGFIELD – State Senators Cristina Pacione-Zayas and Doris Turner stood in support of the governor’s proposed budget that would make a strong investment in early childhood education at a press conference on Thursday.

“I am pleased to join Governor Pritzker in leading Illinois to be the best state to raise young children. Together with my colleagues in the General Assembly we will make historic investments to optimize early childhood development, support families, and bolster early childhood professionals,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago).  “Delivering this message directly to providers and families will be crucial for gaining support to advance the proposal to victory.”

The proposal would put a total of $250 million toward a new program – SMART Start Illinois – a multi-year program to provide investments in preparing children to be lifelong learners. The plan laid out Wednesday included a $75 million investment for the Illinois State Board of Education’s Early Childhood Block Grant to increase preschool availability and provide every Illinois child with access to a preschool spot if they want one.

To promote quality in the childcare system, the governor’s proposal would invest $130 million – on top of additional federal dollars – to begin funding the Childcare Workforce Compensation Contracts. An additional $40 million for Early Intervention programs was proposed to provide funds for an expected increase in participants and includes a 10% increase for providers.

“Early childhood education investments set children up to be lifelong learners and put them on a path to great success,” said Turner (D-Springfield). “We have to remove the barriers families face when deciding if they can send their kids to school or put food on the table. A strong investment in early childhood education can set up our youth for a brighter tomorrow.”