The proposed FY 2017 budget included significant investments in education, but more could be done to improve access to quality early care and education, services to identify and address young children with developmental delays, and improvements to adult education and training. DCFPI testified on these issues at yesterday’s budget hearing for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). Our key recommendations are below.
- Early Care and Education — The FY 2017 budget does not include funding to increase reimbursement rates paid to early care and education providers, even though rates are well below market rate. Providers that serve mostly low-income children, and rely mostly on the child care subsidy program, struggle to provide quality care and make ends meet due to these low reimbursement rates. A recent report by the DC Fiscal Policy Institute and DC Appleseed cites the need for at least $38 million more — which could be phased in over time — to help providers cover the costs of providing quality child care, including the need for salary supplements to improve compensation of the early care and education workforce.
- DC Early Intervention Program/Strong Start — The District recently adopted a policy to expand early intervention services for infants and toddlers with developmental delays, to allow services to be provided before delays become severe. Unfortunately, this expansion is not yet funded. The proposed FY 2017 budget adds $2.3 million more towards early intervention services, to restore a cut made last year, but is not sufficient to fund the expanded services. An additional $3-5 million is needed to fund the expansion of the DC Early Intervention Program/Strong Start next year.
- Adult Education and Training — Per the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), adult education costs per participant are likely to increase, as Adult and Family Education programs will be required to integrate education with job training. This means that without additional funding, the number of residents that can be served will decline.
To read our full testimony, see here.
To print a copy of today’s blog, click here.