Tag Archive: Alexandria

  1. Budget Negotiations Continue in the City of Alexandria

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    As Voices works to connect the dots and urge federal and state leaders to prioritize action, we also support localities taking bold steps to invest in children, especially when it comes to school readiness opportunities. Growing numbers of children are living in poverty in the Commonwealth – and Alexandria is not immune to this or its devastating effects on young children.

    The City of Alexandria’s model for early care and education is gaining attention, not just for opportunities for four-year-olds but also the important work for children birth to age five.

    A quick look back at recent weeks:

    • Voices for Virginia’s Children collaborated with local advocates to urge attention for child care and preschool access and quality during the City Council budget hearing in March.
    • Thanks to the program providers and advocates who signed a letter to City Council in April. View- Letter to Alexandria City Council
    • As the state General Assembly session concluded – offering an increased per-pupil rate in VPI and the chance to determine eligibility priorities based on local factors for 15% of the slots – and the Department of Education allocated additional slots to Alexandria to meet rising need – local debate continued on how and where to meet the needs of Alexandria’s four year olds.
    • Though the General Assembly took significant steps forward for early care and education in 2016, they did not invest in child care subsidy. Alexandria supports local families through its own investment, and we appreciate the difference this makes for families. More than 200 families are on the local waiting list. Working parents need reliable child care and this is crucial to Alexandria’s economy and to the early learning opportunities of these children.

    Next step in the action:

    Now, Council members and advocates face the “add/delete” phase of budget negotiations. Think of this like amendments – adding and deleting ideas and dollars for programs.

    And, Council needs to hear from local advocates once again.

    Voices for Virginia’s Children is working with local advocates to urge support for two particular budget amendments – one in support of youth and family after-school services at the Nannie J. Lee Center, and one in support of additional child care subsidy funding that would reach 58 families currently on the local waiting list. For more information and talking points please contact Mary Beth Testa at marybeth@mbstsolutions.com.

    City Council will make a final review of the “add/delete” options on Monday, May 2, and will meet to approve the final budget on May 5. Please contact your Council member this weekend!

  2. Local Budgets, Local Choices for School Readiness

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    The 2016 General Assembly session is over but the action is heating up locally in Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria!

    The localities have the task of implementing state policy and applying state investments, while juggling competing priorities to determine local investment in early care and education for Fiscal Year 2017.

    Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria have a history of leadership for school readiness services and now is the time to grow. Let’s take action together!

    Action Roundup

    Voices for Virginia’s Children collaborated with advocates in the City of Alexandria to testify at the City Council budget hearing on March 14 (see more below). The path to quality also includes a strong foundation in child care licensing. This can get complicated and the details matter when a locality works to aim higher than a state’s minimums. Arlington’s challenges with this prompted Voices to weigh in and urge them to pause while the state implemented its changes required by federal law. Next up: action in Fairfax.

    Are you a school readiness advocate in Fairfax, Arlington or Northern Virginia? Sign up for alerts from Voices for Virginia’s Children!

    Fairfax Action Resources

    Sign-on letter on the Fairfax County Budget – organizations and program providers, please make your voice heard in the Fairfax County budget debate by signing on to this letter! To add your organization name, please email Mary Beth, our Northern Virginia Policy Consultant, at marybeth@mbstsolutions.com by April 6! The letter will be delivered to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

    Fairfax County budget proposal

    Fairfax County budget calendar

    Preschool in Fairfax: Start with the Children, Go Where They Are

    Alexandria Action Resources

    Voices for Virginia’s Children testimony to the City Council March 14, 2016 – Voices for Virginia’s Children and colleagues at Campagna Center, Child and Family Network Centers, Hopkins House, ALIVE! Child Development Center and the Northern Virginia AEYC urged the Alexandria City Council to invest in VPI and child care access and quality, and to engage in thoughtful problem-solving to serve at-risk children in community-based programs and school-based programs.

    City of Alexandria budget proposal

    City of Alexandria budget calendar

    Preschool in Alexandria: A Committed Relationship Takes Work

    Projected VPI Slots for City of Alexandria

    Arlington Action Resources

    Arlington County budget proposal

    News You Can Use

    “Alexandria Could Raise Tax Rate by Up to Three Cents” Washington Post March 17, 2016

    “Alexandria Proposes Small Tax Increase to Fund Schools and Raises” Washington Post February 23, 2016

    “Fairfax County Executive Proposes 4-cent Increase to Meet Rising Needs” Washington Post February 16, 2016

    “Arlington Proposes Half-cent Cut in Property Taxes” Washington Post February 18, 2016

    “Starting Early and Working Together Works! Celebrating Progress from 2016 GA Session” Voices for Virginia’s Children blog, March 14, 2016

    Governor McAuliffe’s Budget Proposal for ECE Voices for Virginia’s Children blog, December 17, 2015