In the News

Early Childhood Tax Proposal Heads to Ballot in Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, MI, JUNE 28, 2018 – The Kent County Board of Commissioners approved a ballot proposal that, if approved by voters this fall, would raise around $5.4 million a year for early childhood programs.

The 0.25-mill question on the Nov. 6 ballot was approved 13-5 by commissioners at their Thursday, June 28 meeting. Read more. 

Ohio Governor Race: DeWine Says He Wants to Make These Changes to Ohio’s Early Childhood Programs

OH, JUNE 30, 2018 – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine wants to increase investments in early childhood development and education across the state, saying his proposed policy changes could give 20,000 additional Ohio children access to publicly funded early childhood programs.

In a meeting with child care experts in Dayton on Friday, the Republican gubernatorial candidate heard policy suggestions and talked about his proposals, which he hopes will increase access to early childhood healthcare and education across the state. Read more.

Editorial: Preschool Program Off to Promising Start

CINCINNATI, OH, MAY 29, 2018 – To really understand the intent behind the Preschool Promise initiative, you have to take the long view.

Cincinnati taxpayers understood that in 2016 when they voted to make high-quality preschool available to every child in the city. That was a big investment and a huge leap of faith. Since that vote, there has been a lot of hard work by Cincinnati Public Schools and Preschool Promise that you can see, and some that you can’t see. Read more. 

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 most important investment Seattle can make in its future.

Many speculated Durkan was worried it wouldn’t pass if voters were still reeling from the head tax. If the mayor’s proposal is approved, the measure would increase property taxes on a median home by roughly $250 or 20 dollars per month. But the mayor contends the investment will pay off. Read more. 

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 Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, Louise Stoney, national early care and education finance expert and Sonjia Joseph of Clara’s Little Lamb Preschool Academy. Listen here. For more information, see the case study in this toolkit.

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 22 preschools on quality improvement needed to be eligible to participate in the program. Read more here.

Memphis Council Commits to Finding Pre-K Solution

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. 

New Brookings Report on New American Localism and Investing in Children

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 Preschool Promise Turned 1 Year Old on Election Day. Here’s How it’s Going.

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. 

County Recognizes Early Learning as Economic Development

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.