State of Illinois
92nd General Assembly

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 1        AN ACT concerning education.

 2        Be  it  enacted  by  the People of the State of Illinois,
 3    represented in the General Assembly:

 4        Section 1.  Short title.  This Act may be  cited  as  the
 5    Voluntary Access to Preschool Act.

 6        Section   5.    Purpose.    Research   demonstrates  that
 7    participation in a quality preschool program has  a  positive
 8    impact  on  a  child's  intellectual,  emotional, social, and
 9    physical development, predicting favorable  performance  well
10    into  the child's school career.  To ensure that all children
11    in this State are prepared for  school,  there  should  be  a
12    policy  of access to preschool for children ages 3 to 5 years
13    who  are  residents  of  this  State  and  whose  parents  or
14    guardians want them to participate.

15        Section 10.  Policy established.  A policy  of  voluntary
16    universal  access  to  preschool  is hereby established.  The
17    following are the components of the policy:
18             (1)  Children who are at least 3 years  of  age  but
19        less  than 5 years of age who are residents of this State
20        and whose parents or guardians want them  to  participate
21        shall have access to preschool.
22             (2)  Universal  voluntary  access to preschool shall
23        be phased in over time.
24             (3)  Preschool early education shall be available in
25        a  variety  of  settings,  and  a  range  of   providers,
26        including  schools,  child  care settings, and Head Start
27        programs, shall be  allowed  to  directly  receive  State
28        preschool funds.
29             (4)  All   teachers  of  preschool  early  education
30        programs   shall   hold   early    childhood    education
                            -2-                LRB9204958NTsb
 1        certificates  issued  under  Section 21-2.1 of the School
 2        Code.
 3             (5)  Families shall be offered an array of preschool
 4        service options and  schedules  that  meet  their  varied
 5        scheduling needs.
 6             (6)  Parents shall have opportunities to be involved
 7        in  their  children's  early  learning experiences and to
 8        participate in parent education activities.
 9             (7)  Periodic  assessments  shall  be  conducted  to
10        improve   preschool   early   education   programs    and
11        demonstrate school readiness results.

12        Section  15.   Task  Force.   In  order  to implement the
13    policy of voluntary universal access to preschool that is  to
14    be phased in over time, a broad-based Task Force on Voluntary
15    Access  to  Preschool  is hereby created within the Office of
16    the Governor to develop and deliver an implementation plan to
17    the General Assembly by January 1,  2002.   This  Task  Force
18    shall  have statewide representation and shall consist of the
19    following members:
20             (1)  Two representatives of the  Governor's  Office,
21        appointed by the Governor.
22             (2)  Four members from the House of Representatives,
23        with  2 members appointed by the Speaker of the House and
24        2 members appointed by the Minority Leader of the House.
25             (3)  Four members of  the  Senate,  with  2  members
26        appointed  by  the  President of the Senate and 2 members
27        appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate.
28             (4)  The Director of Human Services or  his  or  her
29        designee.
30             (5)  The Director of Children and Family Services or
31        his or her designee.
32             (6)  The State Superintendent of Education or his or
33        her designee.
                            -3-                LRB9204958NTsb
 1             (7)  One member representing the Illinois Head Start
 2        Association, appointed by the Governor.
 3             (8)  One  member  representing  the Chicago Board of
 4        Education, appointed by the Governor.
 5             (9)  Eighteen   members   representing   the   early
 6        education community, including administrators,  teachers,
 7        child   care   centers   and   homes,   higher  education
 8        instructors,  parents,  business,  labor,  and  education
 9        advocates, appointed by the Governor.
10    The  Governor  may,  at  his  or  her   discretion,   appoint
11    individuals  representing  the  U.S. Department of Health and
12    Human Services, Region V.  One member of the Task Force shall
13    be selected by the Governor to serve as  the  chairperson  of
14    the Task Force.

15        Section  20.  Duties of Task Force.  The Task Force shall
16    design a framework of key  preschool  program  components  to
17    ensure  that  all  children enter school ready to learn.  The
18    plan must  include,  at  a  minimum,  all  of  the  following
19    elements:
20             (1)  Recommendations  for  what preschool funds will
21        pay for and how funds will be distributed.
22             (2)  Eligible  agencies   to   apply   and   operate
23        preschool programs.
24             (3)  Cost estimates and methods of funding, phase-in
25        plans, and funding priorities.
26             (4)  Program governance structures.
27             (5)  Standards.
28             (6)  Plans for assessing results.
29             (7)  How    programs    might   address   children's
30        comprehensive needs.
31        The  Task  Force  shall  widely  gather  information  and
32    recommendations for consideration from parents, civic groups,
33    and others with an  interest  in  young  children  and  their
                            -4-                LRB9204958NTsb
 1    families.

 2        Section 999.  Effective date.  This Act takes effect upon
 3    becoming law.

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