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St. Louis Regional Early Childhood Council endorses Amendment 3

The St. Louis Regional Early Childhood Council endorsed Amendment 3 Monday, a second child care endorsement in as many weeks for the Early Childhood Health and Education Amendment.

The council, which represents nearly 500 child-serving organizations and businesses, said the amendment’s passage would help increase the quality of early learning available to Missourians.

“One of our organization’s most important mandates is to enhance the quality of early childhood education by addressing their developmental and health needs,” said Anne Kessen Lowell, the council’s co-chair. “The $300 million in annual, constitutionally protected funding that Amendment 3 provides will allow us to make enormous strides toward this goal.”

Last week, Child Care Aware Missouri also endorsed the amendment as it seeks passage from the November ballot.

Other key endorsers include the Missouri Budget Project, Associated Industries of Missouri, and the Missouri NAACP, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, and Kansas City Mayor Sly James.

Amendment 3 would raise nearly $300 million annually for early childhood education by raising the cigarette tax by about 60 cents over the next four years.

“The Regional Early Childhood Council serves all kids in the St. Louis region, but we have a particular focus on those in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas,” added Kessen Lowell. “Families should never have to make the decision between paying a utility bill or paying for childcare. Plus, study after study shows that quality early childhood education improves kids’ lives academically and socially for decades to come. The RECC firmly believes that a YES vote on Amendment 3 is a YES vote for our kids.”

Not all education groups approve of the amendment. The Missouri Rural Education Association and the Missouri Retired Teachers Association, among others, have come out against the endorsement since signatures were turned in last May.