Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Early learning in the Governor’s proposed 2011-2013 budget

When releasing her proposed 2011-2013 budget this morning, Governor Chris Gregoire said the single most common denominator of individuals in state prisons is not drugs or alcohol, but lack of education. Her proposed budget tries to protect education, she said, especially in children’s earliest years.

Still, Washington faces a $4.6 billion shortfall in the coming biennium due to the national economic downturn. The Governor’s proposed 2011-2013 budget includes many difficult choices. It is one that reflects the fact that demands and costs for state services are up when revenues are down.

You can find the Governor’s entire budget proposal here. This is the budget for the biennium that begins on July 1, 2011. Her proposal goes to the Legislature as a “blueprint” for budget deliberations during legislative session.

Specific to our state’s youngest learners, the proposed budget:
  • Increases enrollment slots for 4-year-olds in the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, while reducing slots for 3-year-olds. (Total of 460 slots cut from ECEAP, and a proportional cut to DEL ECEAP administration, for $9 million savings)
  • Eliminates the Career and Wage Ladder program ($3 million savings)
  • Reduces funding for administration for Seasonal Child Care subsidies ($2 million savings)
  • Does not carry forward Reach Out and Read literacy funding, and does not fund Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS)
  • Suspends planned increase of state-funded all-day kindergarten—continuing to fund the program for lowest income schools ($57 million savings)
  • Suspends the smaller class size and employee salary increase initiatives under Initiatives 728 ($860.2 million savings) and 732 ($253.3 million savings).
  • Eliminates K-4 class-size reduction funds ($216 million savings)
  • Eliminates the Children’s Health Program, which provides medical coverage for 27,000 children whose citizenship has not been documented ($59 million savings) and eliminates the Basic Health Plan ($230.2 million state fund savings; $117.3 million federal savings)
  • Proposes a new public/private partnership focused on reducing the impact of toxic stress and trauma (adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs), building on the success of the Family Policy Council and the Community Public Health and Safety Networks.
We at DEL are still looking at the entire proposed budget and will provide more information as we have it.

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