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Moms bear burden of Montana’s failure to fund preschool


May 13, 2019
Missoulian

Instead of a Mother’s Day gift, this year Montana legislators gave moms of young children an added burden. But not just moms; entire communities will suffer the results of their failure to provide any funding for preschool.

Lawmakers left the parents of more than 1,400 young children twisting in the wind, unsure if their preschool will have the necessary resources to continue providing high-quality care and education to Montana’s neediest students. With declining enrollment, some teachers at these schools are likely to lose their jobs. Dozens of preschools in the state’s most rural communities are at risk of closing entirely.

These programs, which cater to the unique developmental needs of 4- and 5-year-olds, participate in Montana’s STARS Preschool program or have received preschool development grants in the past few years. But both those supports are ending thanks to legislators who opted not to continue funding them.