Thursday, March 31, 2005

"Gregoire Left Readiness to Learn out of her draft budget"

As Governor of Vermont, Howard Dean recognized the importance of touching families with young children to provide services that helped them succeed later in school with a program called "Success by Six." In our state, the "Readiness to Learn" program has done the same thing for over ten years."Gregoire Left Readiness to Learn out of her draft budget" "We are distressed that Governor Gregoire has left the Readiness to Learn program out of her draft budget. As you know, this program is critical, not just to New Futures, but to highly effective programs across the state that make a profound difference in the lives of children and families. During the 2003-04 school year, Readiness to Learn served 4,185 families and 5,066 children, and the state grant of $3.6 million leveraged $17.65 million in additional funds at work in our communities and almost $1.4 million in volunteer hours. Here at New Futures, the Readiness to Learn support allowed us to serve over 2,000 individuals in three of our area’s lowest-income, highest-crime apartment complexes, and we know that:• 85% of these extremely challenged children improve one or more grade levels in reading• 80% of families are more involved with their child’s schoolwork• 79% of families feel more able to meet their basic needsThe House budget will be released on Monday, April 4th. Once the House releases its budget, the next step is for the Senate, House and Governor to produce a Final Budget which is due April 15th. Now is the time to act! I know you have long been an advocate active supporter of children and families, and we are so grateful for your support! Please call or email the Governor and members of the Appropriations committee and tell them that Readiness to Learn should be fully funded for the next 2 years. Poverty is increasing in our community, which means that children are coming to school hungry, without warm clothing, from families struggling to survive in dangerous neighborhoods. Readiness to Learn assures that children have the support they need to succeed in school. I know you share our belief that it is imperative that all our children have a chance to succeed.It is vital that Governor Gregoire hears directly from citizens to include RTL in her final budget. You can reach the Governor's office by calling (360) 902-2411, fax (360) 753-4110, or email Equally important is to contact the members of the Appropriations committee: Helen Sommers is the Chair. Her email address is Sommers, Chair (D); Fromhold, Vice Chair (D); *Alexander; **Anderson; **McDonald; Armstrong; Bailey; Buri; Clements; Cody;Conway; Darneille; Dunshee; Grant; Haigh; Hinkle; Hunter; Kagi; Kenney; Kessler; Linville; McDermott; McIntire; Miloscia; Pearson; Priest; Schual-Berke; Talcott; Walsh. All House Representatives contact information can be found here. Time is of the essence. Thank you in advance for contacting legislators as soon as possible."-from the email I received from a local "Readiness to Learn" program in the Highline area, "New Futures." Update: Here are the email addresses for Seattle area legislators:,,, .

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