Early Childhood Funding and the American Rescue Plan

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Alison Alter
Posts: 128
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:52 pm

Early Childhood Funding and the American Rescue Plan

Post by Alison Alter » Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:22 pm

Dear Colleagues,

Each year the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) sponsors the Week of the Young Child during the month of April, to bring awareness and support to the work of early childhood educators, and children and families’ equitable access to high-quality, affordable early childhood education. In the spirit of the Week of the Young Child, I’d like to ask each of you to join me in supporting this attached proposal from United Way for Greater Austin and the Austin/Travis County Success By 6 Coalition Leadership Team which would take just under $12 million to fully fund. I believe this proposal directly addresses the early childhood education / childcare goals that we prioritized for deploying our American Rescue Plan funding in item 111 in March.

Research shows that the first years of a child’s life are the period of the most rapid brain development and lay the foundation for all future learning, and that high-quality early education supports development and learning. Moreover, access to quality early learning and care is necessary for parents to return to work and it is the most effective way to grow the next generation’s collective human potential. I believe this proposal will not only meet immediate needs, but also strengthen and transform this critical sector of our economy and social infrastructure. The Austin/Travis County Success By 6 Coalition Leadership Team has worked diligently to create a plan that is informed by data, includes buy-in and input from community stakeholders, and is focused on systemic change that will make this sector more resilient in the future.

We all know that early childhood educators have been on the frontlines throughout the pandemic, demonstrating the importance of their work for children, families, and the economy and we know that a lack of access to high quality early care and education disproportionately disadvantages families of color. Young children need skilled early childhood educators, and high-quality early care and education; working families need sufficient high-quality, affordable child care available in the community beginning at birth; and early childhood workers need sustainable wages commensurate with the education and skills they bring to their complex and essential work.

It’s my hope that we will be able to pursue this plan in collaboration with other local government partners, but that each of you will join me in ensuring full-funding of this proposal as we move forward with our allocations of local funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. Staff from United Way and members of the Success by 6 Coalition are available to communicate with any of you with questions about this proposal.

Regards,
Alison Alter

Plan: http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 31111.docx
Council Member, District 10

Kathie Tovo
Posts: 102
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:18 am

Re: Early Childhood Funding and the American Rescue Plan

Post by Kathie Tovo » Mon Apr 12, 2021 4:06 pm

Thank you, CM Alter. As a longtime advocate for more funding for our early childhood development system, I was already supportive of this proposal and had intended to advocate for it as well.

Best,

Kathie Tovo
Council Member District 9
Council District 9

Leslie Pool
Posts: 188
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:22 pm

Re: Early Childhood Funding and the American Rescue Plan

Post by Leslie Pool » Mon Apr 12, 2021 5:25 pm

CM Alter, thanks for posting your thoughts about the United Way's Success by 6 proposal. I hope that Council will agree to pursue fully funding the plan, especially in collaboration with other local government partners. The ARP funds make is possible for us to meet child care and other key priorities - for example, local small business and creative sector needs - and I support using ARP funds for these long-standing priorities.

Thanks,

Leslie
Leslie Pool
Council Member, District 7

Paige Ellis
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:37 pm

Re: Early Childhood Funding and the American Rescue Plan

Post by Paige Ellis » Mon Apr 12, 2021 5:33 pm

CM Alter -

Thank you for bringing this. I am also supportive of the full funding for the Success By 6 Coalition's recommendations.

Paige Ellis
Paige Ellis
Council Member, District 8

Vanessa Fuentes
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2021 9:02 am

Re: Early Childhood Funding and the American Rescue Plan

Post by Vanessa Fuentes » Mon Apr 12, 2021 8:15 pm

CM Alter,

Thank you for highlighting how the United Way’s Success by 6 Proposal brings us closer to realizing the early education and childcare goals we prioritized in Item 111 of the March 25, 2021 City Council meeting. I was proud to co-sponsor that Resilient ATX resolution then, and I am proud to endorse this effort now to bridge the ever-widening divide between communities of color and affordable, high-quality early education and childcare.

Fifty-eight percent of children under the age of 6 in District 2 live in families with low income. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated childcare and early education inequities that already hampered communities in the Eastern Crescent. That is why I intend to engage the Success by 6 Coalition Leadership Team to include in their proposal, funding to co-locate space for affordable, high-quality childcare in repurposed and existing Del Valle ISD facilities. As we look to provide Austinites with the resources needed to recover from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that access to quality childcare and early education is not dependent on one’s zip code is of the upmost importance.

I again thank you for your comments and look forward to working with all our colleagues to ensure ARP fund are allocated to this cause.

Yours in community,
Vanessa Fuentes
Council Member, District 2

Greg Casar
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:20 pm

Re: Early Childhood Funding and the American Rescue Plan

Post by Greg Casar » Tue Apr 13, 2021 1:24 pm

Thank you CM Alter for this thread. I support the Success by 6 initiative and I support funding this proposal. I'm proud to join all of you in this critical work. I also hope that we can engage our school districts' trustees in opening up even more classrooms and seats for high quality childcare, so that we can potentially go above and beyond even this proposal. District 4 has the highest number of low-income young children in Austin, and we need this sort of investment badly.

I look forward to working with you all.

-Greg
Gregorio "Greg" Casar
Council Member District 4

Alison Alter
Posts: 128
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:52 pm

Re: Early Childhood Funding and the American Rescue Plan

Post by Alison Alter » Fri Apr 16, 2021 2:19 pm

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for indicating your support to advance this important proposal. I know many of you have now met with United Way and Success by Six and I am excited that it appears we can turn this vision into a reality.

Council Members Casar and Fuentes, the early childhood sector leaders and I share your desire to open up even more classrooms and seats for high quality childcare in the Eastern Crescent in partnership with multiple school districts. The proposal, and experience to date, deploy two mechanisms to increase pre-K and childcare spots in this manner - 1) investing in pre-K start up costs to convert existing ISD classrooms and 2) creating pre-K partnerships where community child care centers co-enroll income eligible children along with a school district to leverage funds. The former already is in action in Del Valle, Manor and Austin ISDs, while the latter is being piloted in AISD.

Thank you for raising these possibilities so that they can be further included. I’m confident that we can identify ways to further expand these programs and consider other mechanisms. I met with United Way and the Success by Six coalition yesterday and I understand that they are working to identify options and funding amounts that would allow that to happen, and I fully support allocating additional dollars beyond their original proposal to ensure additional seats can be leveraged.

On Monday the City of Austin/AISD Board of Trustees/Travis County Commissioners Court Joint Committee will meet virtually. The mayor and CM Tovo, who has been a longstanding advocate for improved childcare access, serve with me on this committee. I anticipate we will discuss this proposal with the hopes of ensuring our County and AISD colleagues are sufficiently briefed on the details so that they can initiate any work on their end that needs to be pursued . As you know that body does not include representatives from other school districts, so I hope similar conversations with other district leaders can be pursued swiftly as well.

I look forward to continuing to work with each of you in ensuring adoption of this proposal.

Regards,
Alison Alter
Council Member, District 10

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