Voices’ Blog

Eyes on Alexandria: Time for Action!

Posted:  -  By: Emily Griffey

On February 21, 2017, Alexandria’s City Manager proposed a budget for FY18. It includes a proposed increase for the local real estate tax rate, to increase revenue to meet increasing city service needs. The Alexandria City Public Schools also proposes a budget to City Council to meet their needs, including investments in the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI).

The FY18 budget proposals for Alexandria include modest but important investments for VPI in the Alexandria City Public Schools budget and for the Early Childhood division at DCHS, to continue the great work of these staff and programs. There is also an increase coming for SNAP benefits – because this need is not only persistent but growing in the City of Alexandria.

Unfortunately, the FY17 increased investment in child care subsidy was not included in FY18. These FY17 dollars also support the Scholarship for Fours so that low-income working families can participate in VPI and get help affording a full day of child care for their four year olds. That was a one-time investment. But it isn’t just a one-time need!

Let’s tell the City Council about these children, their parents, and your work in the community!

The City Council budget hearing is on Monday, March 13 starting at 4 PM at City Hall at 301 King Street. Can you be there? Let us know so we can work together! Click here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LCJNF7M (This is a form created for Voices for Virginia’s Children. It isn’t a formal event sign up. It’s for our teamwork.)

Can’t join us March 13th? There are a few ways we can work together to can share information with City Council. Please click here for some options and to let us know the actions you’re available to do: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LCJNF7M

Let’s get ready for action in Alexandria! Your progress is at-stake!

Alexandria’s leadership has demonstrated what is possible with collaboration, smart policies, and a focus on children and families. Alexandria’s local budget can prioritize the needs of economically disadvantaged children by investing in child care, preschool, mental health and support services for students in high poverty schools, and housing affordability.

There are 8,752 children in economically disadvantaged families in the City of Alexandria. That’s one-third of the children in the city. Their families are struggling to meet basic needs like food, housing, utilities, child care and transportation. Their children are more likely to face health and mental health challenges; less likely to have the opportunity to attend high quality early education; and face going without meals when not in school.

Alexandria’s efforts with the state Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) continue to strengthen early learning in the city, with crucial partnerships between Alexandria City Public Schools and high-quality private child care centers. But an urgent need persists to serve these children and the many more who are eligible. Alexandria’s investment in a “Scholarship for Fours” means the parents of four-year-old children in VPI can afford full-day services in child care while they go to work to support their families. This local investment is making a real-life difference for Alexandrians. Still, there are infants, toddlers, and preschoolers on the waiting list for child care assistance in the city. From FY2015 to FY2016, we’ve seen stalled participation in the state’s child care assistance program – which is intended to help low-income working families to afford child care – and a loss of 4,500 children statewide due to insufficient funds.

Read our Letter to Mayor Silberberg  and the Alexandria City Council

Get all the documents and details of the Alexandria budget proposal here

Sign up with Voices for Virginia’s Children to take action in Alexandria in March! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LCJNF7M

Interested in Fairfax County, too? Read Eyes on the Localities Part 1 and Sign up with Voices for Virginia’s Children to take action in Fairfax County!

Read Voices’ 2015 profile of preschool services in the City of Alexandria

Review the latest KIDS COUNT data for the Northern Region and dive into more data about Alexandria in the KIDS COUNT Data Center

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