One of the bright spots on any given day under the Gold Dome is watching citizen activists, many of whom have taken the day of from work or arranged child care or simply driven across the state, learn to navigate the halls and speak with their elected officials.

Last week, I had the privilege of meeting several resource coordinators (RC’s) who work to  prepare low-income Pre-K children for school by providing support services in health and wellness, child development, community resources and kindergarten readiness.  These women are clearly passionate about education and about children and they have already spent several days at the Capitol sharing stories with legislators about the effectiveness of their program which is in danger of getting cut.

Today, the Southern Education Foundation (SEF) and Voices for Georgia’s Children have released two policy briefs analyzing Governor Sonny Purdue’s proposed 2011 budget for the lottery-funded Georgia Pre-K.

The FY 2011 proposed budget would keep the lottery-funded Pre-K budget flat. It calls for an additional 2000 Pre-K slots at the expense of 75% of the Department of Early Care and Learning’s Resource Coordinator (RC) program. The proposal endangers the state’s capacity to deliver essential services for an effective high-quality Pre-K program and the states’ national ranking in this vital service.

At a time when only 58% of Georgia’s 4 year-olds are served by Georgia Pre-K and over 8, 300 children are on a waiting list, the need for additional Pre-K slots is uncontroverted. Yet, Georgia Pre-K needs to expand to meet demand AND keep Resource Coordinators who are vital to providing high-quality Pre-K experiences.

I hope you’ll raise your voices with us to support for the Resource Coordinator program and additional Pre-K slots in FY 2011.

Click here to download SEF’s Georgia Pre-K Policy Briefs.