Parent AmbassadorsState & Federal Legislative Update January 19-20, 2010
ECEAP Funding • Our state’s deficit is somewhere between $2.3 billion and $2.5 billion. This is based on the latest preliminary forecast. The Governor and state lawmakers will need to close this gap this session. Remember this is on top of the $9 billion deficit they filled before adjourning last April. • This year the governor issued two budgets: • 1st budget – 1500-1600 slots cut, all 3-year olds, $10.5 mil • 2nd budget – no cuts, but now lots of questions being raised about 3 year olds.
Working Connections Funding • Governor’s first budget cut WCCC by $88.5 million. This would have meant a cut of 63% in the number of families able to get on the program each month. • Change in eligibility requirements • Increased co-pay • Governor’s 2nd budget restored $39 million to WCCC, but that would still be a $49 million dollar cut.
What’s next for Budget? • Legislature has been having hearings on the Governor’s proposed budget • House will develop their own budget, taking into consideration: • What the Governor wants • What they heard in testimony, meetings, letters • What their personal priorities are • What they think is politically possible
What’s next for Budget? • Committees will pass proposed budget, then it will go to the full House. • House passed version will go to the Senate, and they will have hearings in committee, and go through the same process. • House and Senate versions will go to Conference to work out differences, then the same version will have to be passed by both Houses.
Legislation - Child Care Subsidies • We are working with our coalition partners on legislation to reform the child care subsidy system. • The main focus of the legislation is likely to be a change in the eligibility authorization process from the current 6 months to 12 months. Representative Pettigrew will be the lead sponsor in the House. We are talking with Senator Kauffman to be our lead sponsor in the Senate. • Meanwhile, Director Hyde has given WSA assurances that she will work with us and Susan Dreyfus the new head of DSHS to make improvements to the current system.
Legislation – Pre-K There are two bills being considered that would expand Pre-K to many more children in Washington: HB 2867 – Governor’s “All Start” Bill Intent: intends to make early learning preschool opportunities available to every three and four-year old child in the state but does so by combining state support with private payments by families “who can afford to pay HB 2731 – Rep. Goodman’s “Ready for School” Bill Intent: some children need supplemental instruction in preschool to achieve; educationally at-risk children in high quality preschool have improved outcomes; Legislature intends to create a program of early learning within the definition of “basic education”
What do we mean by ‘Basic Education’ • Washington’s Constitution requires the state to fund “Basic Education”. • The legislature decides what is the definition of “Basic Education”. • Things that are “Basic Ed” are required to be funded. • Last year the Legislature passed a bill that would include Early Learning for at-risk children within the definition of “Basic Education”. The governor vetoed that part. • Now both the Legislature and the Governor want to expand Pre-K – the Goodman bill would make EL part of Basic Ed, the governor’s bill would not.
Early Learning Plan • The early learning plan continues to be developed. A draft of the plan will be completed this month with a more final version completed in March 2010. The latest information about the plan is available on the DEL web site at www.del.wa.gov • ECEAP is specifically impacted in the plan in the following ways: a) early learning in basic education; b) increasing hours/services/per slot rate; c) serving all eligible children; d) part of universal pre-k; • The plan includes everything from health care for all children, QRIS, family, friend and neighbor support, home visiting, kindergarten readiness assessment, and professional development support.
Early Learning Plan (Part 2) 4. The latest version of the plan will include language on child care subsidy rates and reform. 5. The plan was released on December 1st. Bette Hyde and Nina from Thrive by Five Washington will testify at QEC and at the State House about the plan. They will be collecting feedback until March.
Federal – Head Start Funding • President Obama will release his proposed budget in February – expected to maintain the stimulus amounts, both in Head Start and Child Care. • Senator Patty Murray is on the committee. • Our goal is to maintain slots for both Head Start and Early Head Start. Remember to talk about new funding as a “down payment” not a one time stimulus.
Head Start Regulations Head Start proposed regulations will come out in March. • Re-competition. This includes the recommendations made by the advisory committee. • Governance. This includes the level of shared governance. • Homelessness. This includes all of the McKinney Vento language, prioritizing of homeless families, and the kinds of documentation needed to enroll families.
Head Start Regs – Cont. 4. Rural Issues. This includes recommendations in several key areas to provide more flexibility. • Eligibility. This includes more clarity on the availability of programs to serve families up to 130% of the poverty level. 6. Teacher Degrees. This includes “related degree and coursework” language. 7. Children with Disabilities. This is specifically about when and how programs must meet the new 10% enrollment requirement.
Regulations Primer The Administrative Procedures Act lays out rules for how agencies go about formal rule making. Typically, they must publish a proposed rule in the federal register and provides 90 days for public comment. The agency must receive and evaluate public comments and respond to them. However, as long as the agency does not put forth a final rule that is “arbitrary or capricious” or clearly beyond the limits of the statue it is very difficult to challenge legally. Thus, it is imperative that the Head Start community send in their recommendations prior to the issuance of draft regulations.
Current and Upcoming Legislation 1. Early Learning Challenge Fund. States would compete for grants to improve the quality of programming for low income children. Head Start programs are impacted in several ways: QRIS, Program Performance Standards, and State Advisory Councils. • Home Visiting. Legislation is embedded with health care bills. • Child Care Development Block Grant. Likely to be brought up in the coming year. Key issues for Head Start: continuity of care, co-payments, infants and toddlers, and collaboration/partnership. • No Child Left Behind. Impact on Head Start: role of Title I funding for early education, universal pre-k bills, birth to 8 continuum, and transitions.
Contact Information Joel Ryan, Executive Director, Washington State Association of Head Start and ECEAP Phone: 253-373-9100 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org