In the News
MEMPHIS, TN, DECEMBER 5, 2017 – Sitting at the Memphis City Council committee table Tuesday, Mayor Jim Strickland reiterated what he’d said for years: universal prekindergarten can be a “gamechanger.”
With Strickland on board, the council’s executive committee voted Tuesday to recommend approval of the resolution committing to finding the funding to provide citywide needs-based Pre-K. But the resolution didn’t answer the thorny question of how the city sustainably funds the program, a question that could be settled next meeting. Read more.
As the trend toward reduced investments at the federal level for children continues (a decline over the next decade is expected by 25 percent or more as a percentage of GDP), local governments are stepping up their investments. This Brookings report provides an overview of the opportunities and challenges including “the intergovernmental obstacles that communities face as they expand supplemental cradle-to-career services, and the strategies individual communities have drawn upon to deliver better results for the next generation.”
Read more here.
CINCINNATI, OH, NOVEMBER 14, 2017 – Preschool students buzz around the newly renovated classroom in West Price Hill. They build puzzles and flip through books – some in English, some in Spanish – and chatter excitedly with each other and their teachers.
This building used to be a church.
Now, it’s a preschool.
And it was bought and renovated, at least in part, on faith in the Cincinnati Preschool Promise.
A little more than a year ago, when Preschool Promise supporters were campaigning for their levy, they made promises. If voters said yes, it would mean even footing for poor children and a break for poor parents. It would mean better, more equitable schools. Better jobs for teachers. A more competitive workforce. A stronger city. Read more.
NOVEMBER 15, 2017 – If I told you that a county in North Carolina took economic development incentive funds and invested them in early learning, would you believe it? Well that is exactly what happened recently in Buncombe County.
Economic development incentives are used at the state and local levels to attract or retain business operations. They can take various forms that are authorized in the NC General Statutes, including tax exemptions, tax credits, property transfers, loans and more. Decisions about the use of economic development incentives are made on a case-by-case basis as a community or state creates a customized incentive package to attract or retain a business.
The Buncombe County budget has $5 million set aside for economic development incentives with about $3 million already committed. At the County Commissioners’ October meeting, they made several changes to the eligibility policy for businesses to receive incentives, including one to support early learning. For capital investment projects, which create jobs and invest in buildings and equipment, the county will now provide additional incentives to businesses that pay 50 percent or more of child care expenses for their employees. Specifically, “companies that pay at least 50 percent of the cost of an employee’s child care costs will be eligible for a bonus of $1,000 per employee.”
That’s not all. The County Commissioners invested $250,000 from the economic development incentive set-aside for preschool expansion. In addition, the County allocated $68,000 to provide a new NC Pre-K classroom at the Christine Avery Center serving 12 children and is supporting a Head Start classroom expansion at an elementary school.
At the same time, a separate initiative – the Asheville Buncombe Preschool Planning Collaborative– is working to ensure that each child age birth to five in Buncombe County has access to high-quality, affordable early care and education. The collaborative is a diverse group of community leaders, including the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Mission Health, A-B Tech and Asheville City Council. Currently the group is focusing on three- and four-year-olds. The collaborative believes that preschool is currently the most fiscally viable, and is a logical “next step upstream” from existing kindergarten systems.
There is a growing movement of communities across the country investing or planning to invest local funds in early learning to ensure children get a strong foundation for lifelong health, education and well-being. Read more here about communities taking local action in the NCECF Local Funding for Early Learning: A Community Toolkit. We’ve documented nearly 40 communities making local investments in young children.
TUSCON, AZ, OCTOBER 16, 2017 – Proposition 204 proposes to raise the sales tax in the city of Tucson by half a penny. The money would fund scholarships for up to 8,000 children living in the Tucson city limits for “high-quality” preschool.
“They graduate from high school at a much higher level. They begin and complete four-year colleges at a much higher level, they earn higher salaries, they are much less likely to be connected to the criminal justice system. They are less likely to be on public welfare,” said Penelope Jacks with Strong Start Tucson. Read more.
PORTLAND, OR, SEPTEMBER 16, 2017 – On Saturday, a group began collecting signatures to gain support for a soda tax in Multnomah County
The Coalition for Healthy Kids and Education needs to collect about 18,000 signatures to get the Multnomah County soda tax on the May 2018 ballot. The Coalition for Healthy Kids and Education is a group of doctors, parents, health experts and community leaders supporting kids in Multnomah County. Read more.
TELLURIDE, CO, SEPTEMBER 15, 2017 – The region’s shortage of child care options has been a hot topic this year.
Just 211 child care slots are available for 383 children in San Miguel County under the age of 5. Kathleen Merritt, executive director of Bright Futures — a Telluride-based nonprofit that focuses on early childhood education in the county — believes that a ballot initiative to raise funds for early childhood education should be part of the solution.
The San Miguel County Board of Commissioners approved the language for the Early Childhood Initiative, Ballot Issue 1A, at a Sept. 7 meeting. It is the county’s only item on the ballot for the Nov. 7 election. Read more.
August 2017 – An early childhood workforce investment tax credit helps provide an incentive for professional development, and rewards educational attainment with a refundable wage credit to increase pay. Read the Committee on Economic Development’s new brief and infographic about supporting and strengthening the early learning workforce.
TELLURIDE, CO, JULY 7, 2017 – In San Miguel County there are approximately 383 children under the age of 5.
With only 211 child care slots, and just 14 of those slots designated to infant care, the region is facing a dire shortage in the child care realm, a problem exacerbated by the lack of qualified care givers.
That’s why Kathleen Merritt, executive director of Bright Futures — a Telluride-based nonprofit that focuses on early childhood education in the county — asked San Miguel County Commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday to consider adding a ballot item to this fall’s election that would help fund child care initiatives.
The proposed measure would raise property taxes to finance early childhood teacher recruitment and retention, parent education programs and financial assistance for families that can’t afford the high costs often associated with child care. Read more.
DETROIT, MI, JUNE 19, 2017 – LaWanda Marshall and Candace Graham both teach pre-kindergarten at the Carver STEM Academy on Detroit’s west side. Both have colorful, toy-filled classrooms, computers for students to use and assistant teachers to help guide their 4- and 5-year-olds as they learn and explore. But Marshall’s classroom has other things too—lots and lots of other things that regularly arrive like gifts from the pre-K gods. Read more.