The NC General Assembly is in session and the budget process is underway. Now is the time for action! There are only a few short weeks left to make sure we have a strong budget for early education. Budget conferees will be meeting soon to prepare their recommendations, and a final budget will likely be voted on in the next few weeks.
There are positive items in both the House and Senate budgets related to early education. The House budget provides: a $4 million recurring increase for NC Pre-K, creating slots for approximately 800 more children; a $3.45 million increase to improve child care subsidy rates for children in high-quality child care programs; and it maintains the Smart Start match requirement at its current level of 17%. The Senate budget includes a recommendation that emerged from the Health and Human Services Early Education Subcommittee that allows for: collaboration between agencies or organizations that administer, support, or study early education; use of a comprehensive set of indicators to monitor and measure success; and development of a plan to help children transition into kindergarten.
Please contact the Budget Conferees and urge them to keep early education programs, parents and providers a top priority. It is imperative that the final budget includes all of the positive items above. Please also send the same message to our Durham delegation and ask them to let the Conferees know that early education is important to you and our community.
Don’t wait – contact the House and Senate Budget Conferees today! Use the Coalition’s Action Center to send a pre-written message, or edit the message and send your own. Contact information for key budget conferees can also be found by clicking here.
We have an opportunity to advance early education this legislative session, and we need your active participation now to make it happen. Thank you for making your voice heard for young children and families!