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Vote Yes on 3 for Kids! Beyond Housing strongly encourages the passage of Amendment 3 (formerly known as Raise your Hands 4 Kids).
“One of our organization’s most vital mandates is to help entire communities become better places to live, by addressing the entire range of community needs. Chief among these needs are access to health programs and access to early childhood education,” said Chris Krehmeyer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Beyond Housing. “The $300 million in annual funding will help so many of our nonprofits and community partners provide children and families with the services and programs they need.”
As the election nears, many groups and individuals have voiced support for Amendment 3; the Missouri School Boards’ Association, the Association for the Education of Young Children of Missouri, Associated Industries of Missouri, the Missouri State NAACP, the Missouri Retailers’ Association, the Missouri Budget Project, Nurses for Newborns, the Missouri Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators, Parents as Teachers, SSM Health Care are among the dozens of endorsers. This widespread support shows an understanding of a basic fact: Missouri faces an early childhood education funding crisis. In 2014, only 3 percent of Missouri 4-year-olds were enrolled in state-funded pre-K compared to 60 percent of 4-year-olds in Iowa, and 76 percent in Oklahoma. In addition to trailing every single border state, Missouri also trails the majority of states across the nation.
Amendment 3 offers a common-sense solution to this crisis, and is the only proposal that will create such a significant increase in early childhood education funding. Missouri has the nation’s lowest cigarette tax, at only 17 cents a pack compared to $1.29 a pack in Kansas and $1.98 a pack in Illinois. By raising the tax by just 60 cents over the next four years, Missouri will have new, constitutionally-guaranteed funding to bring early childhood education and health programs to kids all across the state.
“The birth-to-five age range is such a crucial time for children’s development, and we owe it not only to our kids but to our communities as a whole to provide high-quality, widely available health and education programs,” said Krehmeyer of Beyond Housing, whose 5byAge5 Early Childhood Development Program brings together dozens of partners to support families who are preparing their children to enter kindergarten. “Beyond Housing firmly believes that a YES vote on Amendment 3 is a YES vote for the families and communities we serve.”