WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Murkowski today joined her colleagues in the Senate in passing the conference report to the Head Start School Readiness Act. Head Start prepares low-income children for school by providing comprehensive, early childhood development services including educational, health, nutritional and social activities. “The Head Start program is an important part of our children’s educational development,” said Senator Murkowski. “This legislation includes many priorities of Alaska Head Start Directors. It helps ensure that Alaskan children are ready to succeed in school, that their parents have the skills they need to help their children learn, and that children in even the most remote communities have health and nutrition services.” The Head Start for School Readiness Act authorizes 16 programs in Alaska from Metlakatla to Anchorage. The conference report authorizes funding of $7.35 billion in FY08, as well as increases for the four years thereafter. The bill expands eligibility for Head Start, allowing children whose parents earn 130 percent above poverty level to enroll. The legislation also maintains local control over Head Start programs, guaranteeing that communities may individually assess the best way to meet their unique needs. ###