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Legislative News and Views - Rep. María Isa Pérez-Vega (DFL)

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Rep. María Isa Pérez-Vega and Minnesota Leaders Celebrate 2023 Children and Families Budget

Friday, September 29, 2023

Saint Paul, MN- Today, Rep. María Isa Pérez-Vega (DFL-Saint Paul) held a press conference to celebrate the historic investment made by the 2023 Children and Families Budget. The children and families portion of this budget report invests nearly $2 billion over four years in affordable and accessible childcare and early learning, shelter and dignity for those experiencing homelessness, food security, economic support for families, and system reforms including a new state Department of Children, Youth, and Families. 

Rep. María Isa Pérez-Vega, a member of the House Children’s and Families Committee, released the following statement:  

“Investing in early childhood education is one of the best investments we can make to ensure the economic stability of Minnesota. I am proud to have served on the House Children’s and Families Committee to put families first and put people over profits. Our bill funds early childhood education, supports families, invests in our educators, and creates a future where all children can thrive and reach their full potential. 

I worked hard this session to ensure we passed my voluntary pre-k enrollment legislation. The bill will make an additional 5,200 seats permanent for young scholars beginning in 2024 and later. This funding is significant and will allow children from historically underfunded school districts to have an equal opportunity to receive high-quality childhood education.” 

In Minnesota, child-care and early learning are in deep crisis after decades of underfunding - unaffordable for families and paying poverty wages to caregivers. This year’s budget invests nearly $1 billion in this critical sector to improve school readiness and allow parents to access employment and education opportunities. 

"I am grateful to Saint Paul Public Schools for investing in our youngest learners and making full-day Pre-Kindergarten available here at Riverview,” Principal Stivaliss Licona-Gervich. “Our Pre-K students begin learning to read and write in Spanish from day one. We pride ourselves on our diverse community and work hard to prepare our students to impact change in our society and become global citizens."  

"Saint Paul Public Schools has known for a long time about the power of early education and the importance of pre-kindergarten to families, learning, and the sustained growth of our school district,” Superintendent Joe Gothard. “Thank you to Rep. Perez-Vega, Lt. Governor Flanagan, and the many other people at the State Capitol who fought to maintain and expand Voluntary Pre-K for years to come."  

Photo Cutline: Saint Paul Public Schools Board Director Jim Vue (far left), Carrie Johnson, Start Early Funders Coalition (fourth from left), Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, Representative David Pinto, Dr. Joe Gothard – Superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools (second row in the back, behind Rep. Perez-Vega), Representative María Isa Pérez-Vega, Principal Stivaliss Licona-Gervich (right side of Rep. Perez-Vega), Representative Samakab Hussein, Carlo Franco, Director of Youth Track, and Consul Esteban Cadena Duarte of Ecuador (far right).