Hawaii Preschool Initiative Passes First Test

Both the state Senate and House education committees on Friday approved measures proposing a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to spend public money on private preschools. That's a key part of an initiative to provide a statewide early learning program for all Hawaii’s 4-year-olds.

Accompanying the proposed amendment are two measures that would allow the state to launch an early learning program in partnership with existing private preschool providers. Both proposals were also approved by the committees this week.

“While we’re perfectly capable of engaging in partnerships right now ... as we move forward, we do not want to have someone contend that we are not capable of signing contracts with folks in the private sector” and disrupt the initiative, said Gov. Neil Abercrombie at the House hearing Friday.

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