Local Funding for Early Learning: A Community Toolkit

Local communities are powerful agents of change. Across the nation, towns, cities and counties are serving as hubs of innovation when it comes to early learning. In NC, early childhood investments have typically been funded with federal, state and lottery dollars. Local revenue streams offer another means to expand early learning in communities. This toolkit provides a first step in understanding local opportunities.

Start Learning.

Local Government 101

How local governments are organized, their responsibilities and areas of authority, how they interact and how the local budget process works.

Existing Funding Streams

Current federal and state sources of early childhood funding and how funding is maximized through blending and braiding.

Local Funding Options

Local funding options, including a description of the funding structure, who pays, who collects the funds and how funds are used.

Case Studies

Profiles of some of the best examples of local early childhood initiatives across the country, including the steps taken and the challenges and opportunities faced.

Readiness Tools

Lessons from communities engaged in local financing efforts and tools to determine your readiness and begin planning to build support.

Learn More

Upcoming workshops, videos and online learning tools.

“Communities are hungry for better ways to meet the needs of their children. There is a dearth of information on how to grow your resources locally. This toolkit provides such an excellent guide to those who care about North Carolina children. I wish every state had one! In the child and youth field we need to get better at understanding the flow of resources, the tax and budget process, and creative financing mechanisms in order to be more effective.”

Elizabeth Gaines, Senior Fellow, The Forum for Youth Investment

“I don’t often see this level of quality work – so you are to be congratulated for the accomplishment.  And as President of the UNC School of Government Foundation, I am really pleased to see you using the great resources of the institution that gave me my start in public service.”

Ed Kitchen, VP and COO of the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation of Greater Greensboro

“If your community is considering locally expanding early care and education services, the toolkit and workshop supplied by NCECF and the Budget and Tax Center is essential to your planning. Please take advantage of these wonderful resources. It will move the discussion forward!”

Jennie Eblen, Co-Chair, Asheville Buncombe Preschool Planning Collaborative

On the training that accompanies the toolkit: “Today was a great combination of usable, accurate and contextual facts blended in with focus on how to enact change with that data. Thanks for keeping us on task and bringing this opportunity to us all.”

David Jackson, President and CEO, Boone, NC Area Chamber of Commerce

Seattle Case Study

Property Tax Referendum

Petal, MS Case Study

Property Taxes & County/School District Funding

Wake County, NC Case Study

Line Item in County Budget

San Antonio Case Study

Sales Tax Referendum

Aspen Case Study

Sales Tax Referendum

Miami - Dade Case Study

Property Tax Referendum

In the News

Deep Dive: Another Seattle Tax is Headed for the November Ballot

SEATTLE, WA, JUNE 14, 2018 - One possible factor that led to the Seattle City Council's repeal of the head tax has to do with a proposal on this November's ballot. It's called the Families, Education and Preschool Promise and Mayor Jenny Durkan describes it as the...

New Podcast on Louisiana’s School Readiness Tax Credit

June 11, 2018 - The Committee for Economic Development (CED) shares its latest audio podcast about the importance of the early learning workforce and the story of how Louisiana addressed this challenge in their state. Hear from special guests Melanie Bronfin of the...

First Year Results for Cincinnati’s Preschool Promise

In 2016, Cincinnati voters overwhelmingly approved a property tax increase to fund the $15 million-a-year Preschool Promise. In its first school year, the program provided tuition scholarships to 1,337 preschoolers, brought 82 preschools into the program and supported...

It Takes a Community

The tools and resources included in this toolkit are the result of countless conversations and working group sessions. We are grateful for their commitment to young children and their willingness to contribute their time and expertise to this project.