From the NAEYC...Call your congressman!
FEDERAL FUNDING STANDOFF
The Congressional leadership and the White House are in a stand-off on funding levels for the remaining eleven funding bills for fiscal year 2008 - including the bill that funds Head Start, child care, K-12 and higher education, health care and research, and job training programs. Much of the federal government is currently operating under a stopgap funding measure that expires December 14. The President has said he will veto spending bills above his budget request. Congressional leaders are working on a new bill, but the total amount and program-by-program levels were in flux as of last night. Congress is likely to pass another Continuing Resolution to keep federal funds flowing past December 14.
STATE DEVELOPMENTS - ALABAMA EXPANDS ITS INVESTMENT IN YOUNG CHILDREN
There has been a lot of press in Alabama about the state's expansion of its preschool investments. Alabama's state legislature approved $10 million for the state's prekindergarten program, which was an increase of almost $5 million over last year's allocation. The additional funding will pay for a total of 133 pre-k classrooms in the state, up from the 59 classrooms that were funded last year.
The money goes hand in hand with allocations that support the development and learning of young children including:$1.7 million for HIPPY, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters$1.27 million to the Alabama Child Care Subsidy program to increase the number of available slots$950,000 for the state's Head Start supplement.
In addition, the state's governor, Bob Riley, has announced his plan to expand prekindergarten for four-year-olds throughout the state. The plan, called First Class, would increase the number of children served by pre-k in the state to 21,000 by 2011. The Governor will propose allocating $30 million to First Class in its first year. The program will use a combination of state funding, grants and State Supported Slots to keep costs affordable for families. Pre-K Excellence Grants of up to $45,000 will be awarded to public school systems, Head Start centers and child care centers to help them achieve and maintain program standards. Each classroom will be able to charge up to $300 per child per month but there will be a sliding fee scale for families, dependent on income. Under the program, a family making up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level (about $40,000 for a family of four) will pay $40 per month. A family of four with income between 201-300 percent of the federal poverty level (between $40,000-$60,000) will pay $100 per month, and those making between 301-400 percent of the federal poverty level will pay $200 per month. Those making above $80,000 will pay $300 per month.