South Carolina General Assembly
116th Session, 2005-2006

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A412, R226, S947


Joint Resolution
Sponsors: Senators Courson, Hayes, Matthews, Setzler, Lourie, Short, Fair, Leventis, Land, Alexander, Ford, Gregory, O'Dell, Malloy, Moore, McConnell, J. Verne Smith, Sheheen, McGill, Knotts, Cleary, Richardson, Jackson, Patterson and Hutto
Document Path: l:\council\bills\gjk\20652sd06.doc
Companion/Similar bill(s): 4406

Introduced in the Senate on January 10, 2006
Introduced in the House on January 17, 2006
Passed by the General Assembly on February 1, 2006
Governor's Action: February 21, 2006, Signed

Summary: First Steps to School Readiness Act


     Date      Body   Action Description with journal page number
  11/29/2005  Senate  Prefiled
  11/29/2005  Senate  Referred to Committee on Education
   1/10/2006  Senate  Introduced and read first time SJ-10
   1/10/2006  Senate  Referred to Committee on Education SJ-10
   1/10/2006  Senate  Recalled from Committee on Education SJ-10
   1/10/2006  Senate  Placed on Calendar without reference SJ-10
   1/12/2006  Senate  Read second time SJ-12
   1/17/2006  Senate  Read third time and sent to House SJ-11
   1/17/2006  House   Introduced and read first time HJ-44
   1/17/2006  House   Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works HJ-44
   1/26/2006  House   Committee report: Favorable Education and Public Works 
   1/31/2006  House   Read second time HJ-18
    2/1/2006  House   Read third time and enrolled HJ-26
   2/15/2006          Ratified R 226
   2/21/2006          Signed By Governor
   2/23/2006          Copies available
   2/23/2006          Effective date 02/21/06
  10/17/2006          Act No. 412

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(Text matches printed bills. Document has been reformatted to meet World Wide Web specifications.)

(A412, R226, S947)


Whereas, South Carolina's economic future depends upon a well educated workforce; and

Whereas, the General Assembly created in 1999 the South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness Initiative as a "comprehensive, results-oriented initiative for improving early childhood development by providing, through county partnerships, public and private funds and support for high quality early childhood development and education services for children by providing support for their families' efforts toward enabling their children to reach school ready to learn"; and

Whereas, school readiness will play a decisive role in South Carolina's successful attainment of the "No Child Left Behind" requirement that all United States children attain a level of academic proficiency by the year 2013; and

Whereas, First Steps serves a unique role as the only entity solely focused on the determinants of school readiness at both state and local levels; and

Whereas, First Steps was created to ensure collaboration and coordination between all agencies serving children, and to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of all related federal, state, and local programs and funding streams; and

Whereas, the First Steps initiative is designed to empower individual communities to identify and fill county-specific school readiness service gaps; and

Whereas, First Steps has successfully developed a statewide infrastructure to convene partners within the education, business, faith, government, and health communities in the interest of delivering high quality services to children up to age five and their families; and

Whereas, First Steps is a mechanism by which the coordination of early childhood systems and pooling of resources is routinely demonstrated to benefit South Carolina taxpayers; and

Whereas, First Steps partnerships have developed rapport with, and provided extensive support to private early education and care providers in an effort to leverage and expand upon their own substantial efforts to promote quality and ensure the optimal development of South Carolina's children; and

Whereas, First Steps has implemented the "Blueprint for South Carolina's Children", its agency improvement plan, focusing the statewide initiative upon five lines of work with quality, accountability, collaboration, and leadership as its agency-wide guiding principles and school readiness priorities; and

Whereas, the First Steps initiative has achieved substantial national attention for its innovative enabling legislation and its implementation of "Countdown to Kindergarten", a school transition strategy designed with partners to connect high-risk families with the elementary schools that their children will attend; and

Whereas, local First Steps partnerships serve as "laboratories for change", funding research-based strategies that provide models of best practices for use across the State and nation; and

Whereas, First Steps has brought attention and resources to the need for increased, integrated systems coordination and outcomes tracking among child-serving agencies; and

Whereas, First Steps has contributed to the increased school readiness of almost three hundred forty thousand children up to age five years with an average annual investment of less than one-third of one percent of the state's annual budget; and

Whereas, First Steps was the first state agency to assist in extending state funded prekindergarten from half-day to full-day experiences for children, and has overseen the state's first public-private 4k partnerships; and

Whereas, First Steps has leveraged more than thirty million dollars in resources for other child-serving agencies and has leveraged its own state allocated resources by approximately thirty percent annually; and

Whereas, First Steps operates with the highest standards of fiscal accountability and program-based fund tracking; and

Whereas, First Steps provides parents with tools they can use to help their children prepare for school success through a myriad of choices; and

Whereas, First Steps plays a statewide role in the dissemination of public information to communities about school readiness and early learning. Now, therefore,

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:


SECTION    1.    Act 99 of 1999, South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness Act, is reauthorized until July 1, 2013.

Time effective

SECTION    2.    This joint resolution takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

Ratified the 15th day of February, 2006.

Approved the 21st day of February, 2006.


This web page was last updated on Friday, December 4, 2009 at 3:33 P.M.