St. Louis Public Radio News
3:36 am
Tue January 9, 2007

Blunt proposes funding increase for early childhood program

St. Louis – Missouri Governor Matt Blunt has started revealing what his budget proposal for next year will include. On Tuesday he announced a funding increase for the Parents as Teachers program.

Parents as Teachers puts parents of newborns to kindergartners in touch with nearby schools and gives parents ways to better their own children's development.

The program especially hits home for Governor Blunt, whose nearly 2-year old son William Branch Blunt takes part. "Branch is probably the smartest 21-month old in the history of mankind," Blunt said. "He's doing very well."

The budget Blunt will present later this month will include $34 million for Parents as Teachers. That's $2 million more than the current level.

Susan Stepleton, the program's national director, said the extra funds will allow more time with so-called parent educators.

"If you're child's about to start kindergarten, instead of seeing the parent-educator once, you'll see the parent-educator two or three times to help you get ready for that major transition."

The entire state budget that Blunt presents will need lawmaker approval.