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Tag Archive: mixed-delivery preschool

  1. A Big Investment in Little Learners: Early Education Results from the 2020 GA Session

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    Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pam Northam ran on a promise to expand early childhood education. And the Governor’s signature budget delivered with initiatives to expand access to more economically disadvantaged 3 & 4 year-olds through the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI). These financial investments, along with early education reform initiatives pushed by the Administration to move oversight for all early education programs to the Department of Education received bi-partisan support from the House and Senate and are on the way to the Governor’s desk to sign into law!

    2020 Playdate at the Capitol RECAP 

    Thanks to all of the advocates and supporters that contributed to this successful day!

    Legislative Champions Across the Aisle

    In the legislature, the Governor’s early childhood proposals received strong support from patrons Senator Janet Howell and Delegate David Bulova, as well as committee chairs Delegate Roslyn Tyler, Delegate Delores McQuinn, and Senator Louise Lucas who stepped up to shepherd these initiatives through their committees. Other legislators brought their own ideas to the table to improve on the Governor’s proposals. Delegate Mark Sickles championed a study to implement early childhood mental health consultation statewide. Delegate Alex Askew and Senator Jeremy McPike carried bills to require lead testing potable water in child care facilities. And Senator Jennifer Boysko carried the final step in legislation to ensure our fingerprint background checks for early educators met federal guidelines. Every bill received the support of both Republicans and Democrats to pass.

    Additional Investments in Early Childhood Total More than $85 million Over Two Years

    Additional state funds for early education expansion in FY21= $35 million and FY22= $50 million

    Gov’s proposed 2-year budget FY21 actual FY22 actual
    Funding for VPI & VPI+ $186 million $93 million $93.8 million
    VECF mixed-delivery grants $2.6 million $1.3 million $1.3 million
    CLASS observation and professional development $3.4 million $1.7 million $1.7 million
    Continue education of provisionally licensed ECE teachers $600,000 $300,000 $300,000

    Enhancements to Early Education Funding

    Increase VPI per pupil amount to $6,959 in FY21 and $7,655 in FY22 $26.9 million $8.7 million $18.2 million
    Pilot to expand VPI to serve 3 year-olds $8.9 million $2.8 million $6.1 million
    Increase VPI class size & staffing $13.5 million $6.4 million $7.1 million
    Reallocate VPI slots and eliminate wait list $7.3 million $4 million $3.3 million
    Private provider incentive add-on (see detail below) $10 million $5 million $5 million
    Early childhood educator incentive bonus $8 million $3 million $5 million
    Literacy Lab Minority VPI Fellows $300,000
    Expand VECF administered mixed-delivery & pilot serving 3-year-olds $17 million $5 million $5 million
    TOTAL $91.6 million $35.2 million $49.7 million
    FINAL TWO YEAR TOTAL

    $85 million

    Additional Details on the Budget and Implementation

    With the stamp of approval for the final budget, local leaders and advocates are encouraged to think about how their communities will take advantage of additional VPI dollars. In addition to the above line item, the final budget includes several initiatives to encourage maximizing resources for ECE at the local level. Budget language includes:

    • Provisions to increase the in-kind contributions for the local match for VPI up to 50%.
    • Provisions to seek a waiver to serve greater than 15% of children with locally established risk criteria beyond income criteria at 200% of poverty.
    • Provisions to certify that all local Head Start program slots are filled (serving children in families below 100% poverty) before VPI is expanded.
    • Flexibility for seeking additional slots to serve children on the wait list.
    • Flexibility for private provider incentives ranging from $3,500 per child in Northern Virginia to $1,500 per child in rural areas.
    • Language to study the methods to annually adjust the costs of VPI for inflation (rebenchmark) rather than specific policy changes.

    There will are several big steps along the way to ensure a smooth transition of early education programs to VDOE. Read more of the implementation timeline outlined by the Administration. And communities can begin to take advantage of mixed-delivery grants right now! Letters of intent are due March 20th!

  2. Early Childhood Education in the House and Senate Budgets

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    We are closer to seeing the largest state investment in early childhood education in Virginia! The budgets approved by the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee and the House Appropriations Committee on Sunday, Feb. 16th keep most of the Governor’s proposals for early childhood in place.

    The next step is for the House and Senate to appoint conferees to negotiate differences in the budget. Look for an action alert in the coming days targeted to these negotiators.

    The only disappointment is a reduction in the proposed $10 million per year for mixed-delivery grants administered by VECF. The House proposed reducing funding for these grants by $7 million per year and the Senate proposed reducing funding by $2 million per year. Currently VECF administers $1.25 million in state-funded mixed-delivery grants. The House budget would provide 500 fewer mixed-delivery slots than the Senate budget.

    As we have noted, the outcomes for children in mixed-delivery preschool settings are on par with the outcomes of children in public preschool.  And, we have learned from other states, models that move all 3 & 4 year-olds to public schools make it too costly to offer affordable child care for infants and toddlers. We also believe that parents should choose the best settings to meet their preferences and needs, and that might be a full-day, year-round child care program.

    Mixed-delivery settings are critical to any expansion of public preschool. Providers, educators, and parents must speak up for need for additional access to mixed-delivery preschool settings to be included in the final budget. The mixed-delivery grant program administered through VECF provides more flexibility in how state dollars can be used to support classrooms including the hours/timeframe of programs, the credentials of the classroom teachers, and the required local match. There is not a one-size fits all approach for each community to expand access to preschool, and these mixed-delivery grants help communities adjust to the challenges preventing them from serving more families.

    While the total amount of available funding will depend on the final agreed upon budget due to be approved by March 7th, communities interested in expanding mixed-delivery slots can learn more about how to apply here. Letters of intent to apply are due March 20th.

    Even with this small setback, we will celebrate expanded access and stronger preschool programs. If you did not get to take part in the celebration of early learning, the “Playdate at the Capitol” on Feb. 17th look at our photo album to check out all the fun!