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Alliance Policy Platform 2017

Alliance Policy Platform 2017
Posted March 29, 2017

Missouri
Universal Voluntary Pre-k:

During the 2014 legislative session the Missouri General Assembly passed HB 1689 which provides pre-Kindergarten state funding to districts and charters through the state finance formula for public education.  The Pre-K funding is for children ages 3 and 4 eligible for free/reduced lunch. Funding is capped at 4% of the districts' and charters' total number of pupils who are eligible for free/reduced lunch. Last year the Missouri General Assembly passed SB 586 which reinstates the cap on the state adequacy target for fully funding the foundation formula allowing for all school districts to access Pre-K funding starting in 2017. Concerns have been raised by many community based providers across the state that expansion of universal Pre-K without provisions allowing school districts and charters to contract with community based providers will force many providers to close their doors. Since many of these providers rely on their preschool services to help offset the higher cost to provide infant and toddler care there is a concern this will only worsen the current shortage of infant toddler care in many communities across the state. ACE Business Alliance supports legislation that will allow public school districts and charter schools to contract with community based child care providers for PreK services funded through the foundation formula.


Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS)

Quality Rating and Improvement Systems are active in 43 states. QRIS provides a framework for a comprehensive early childhood system by:  measuring and setting benchmarks for quality; developing infrastructures to provide targeted and coordinated quality improvement supports to programs; and providing families with useful information to help them make informed child care choices.  In 2016, the Missouri Legislature passed SB 638 lifting a statutory prohibition on quality ratings for early childhood education providers across the state. SB638 creates a time-limited, voluntary pilot program that is open to center based, home based and exempt religious providers. During the next three years, several state agencies will collaborate to establish an early learning quality assurance report. While the legislation was passed it did not include any funding to support the implementation of the pilot program. ACE Business Alliance supports efforts to fund the development and implementation of an Early Childhood Program Quality Assurance Report pilot program.


Parents as Teachers (PAT)

PAT is a nationally recognized program that prepares children for school at a time when the child's brain is developing at its most rapid pace. It offers research to help parents work with their children until it's time for them go to school. Cuts in PAT programs over the past four years negatively impacted the program and have restricted the number of families PAT is able to serve each year forcing additional costs to local school districts that are attempting to address the gap in services for local families. ACE Business Alliance supports efforts to increase/restore funding for PAT and increase access for all families to participate in this nationally recognized parenting education program.


EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit)

The federal EITC provides a boost to hardworking families struggling to make ends meet. Missouri has the opportunity to join 26 other states that build on the success of the federal credit with their own state credits, which boost local economies and help create a path to the middle class. ACE Business Alliance supports efforts to improve incomes for working families, reduce poverty and strengthen the labor market.


Career and Technical Education Certification

HB 188 - Rep. Swan - Career and Technical Education Certification. The purpose of the CTEC program shall be to provide students with the necessary technical employability skills to be prepared for an entry-level career in a technical field or additional training in a technical field. ACE Business Alliance supports efforts to enhance/increase CTEC programs across the state.

Visiting Scholar Certification

HB 97 - Rep. Swan - This bill will allow the State Board of Education to grant an initial visiting scholar certificate as a license to teach in public schools. The applicant must be employed in a content area in which the individual has an academic degree or professional experience.  He or she may only teach classes for ninth grade or higher and the hiring school district must verify that the applicant will be employed as part of a business-education partnership initiative designed to build career pathways systems for students.  The certificate will last for one year and the applicant can renew it a maximum of two times if certain requirements, as described within the bill, are met. ACE Business Alliance supports efforts to allow a visiting scholar license to teach in public schools.


Support local proposals to fund early childhood education

Jackson and Greene county officials have expressed interest in local proposals that will be used to fund early childhood education. ACE Business Alliance supports efforts to locally fund ECE programs across the state.

 


Kansas

The Children's Initiative Fund (CIF)

Since 1999, Kansas has prioritized investment in its youngest citizens through the Children's Initiative Fund (CIF) and the Kansas Endowment for Youth Fund (KEY).  Kansas lawmakers made a commitment to the future prosperity and growth of our state by setting aside dedicated funds for high-quality early childhood education. These funds have been managed by a highly accountable and transparent Children's Cabinet, helping to save the state future costs in education, criminal justice and public assistance. Unfortunately, repeated funding cuts and sweeps from the KEY have left our most accountable and fiscally sound programs at risk.  The Governor's office and key lawmakers have recently proposed selling off the proceeds of the Master Tobacco Settlement (MTS) for a one time lump sum payment.  This settlement is the single source of revenue for the CIF/KEY funds for our children. ACE Business Alliance supports restoring/maintaining the dedicated investment in quality early childhood education, opposing any plans to sell the MTS.


Full Day Kindergarten and Voluntary Pre-K

During the 2015 legislative session, the Kansas Legislature repealed the State school finance formula and replaced it with a two year block grant program. These changes were made so the legislature could work to devise a new finance formula for public education. The opening up of discussions on the development of a new finance formula also offers the opportunity to include full day Kindergarten and voluntary Pre-K as a portion of the new finance formula.  Many school districts across Kansas do not currently offer full day Kindergarten programs. Full day Kindergarten and voluntary Pre-k programs cultivate successful elementary, secondary and postsecondary students.  ACE  supports efforts to include full day Kindergarten and voluntary Pre-K funding in the new Kansas public school foundation formula and efforts to phase-in publicly funded full day Kindergarten and voluntary Pre-K to reach more Kansas children. ACE Business Alliance supports efforts to fund full day Kindergarten and provide funding for voluntary preschool programs through the establishment of a new school funding formulary.


Parents as Teachers (PAT)

PAT is a nationally recognized program that prepares children for school at a time when the child's brain is developing at its most rapid pace. It offers research to help parents work with their children until it's time for them go to school. Facing a state budget shortfall in 2016 changes were made to how the PAT program making it federally funded. Because of this change families must meet one of 19 criteria to participate. These changes have negatively impacted the program and have restricted the number of families PAT is able to serve each year forcing additional costs to local school districts that are attempting to address the gap in services for local families. ACE Business Alliance supports efforts to restore funding for PAT and increase access for all families to participate in this nationally recognized parenting education program.


Budget

Concern over budget shortfalls between now and June 30 are on the minds of most Kansans. Early Childhood proponents have been on edge, searching for solutions beyond the previously proposed sell off of the Master Tobacco Settlement ($350MM). We are encouraged to hear that another fund may be available for liquidation in the short term budget crisis, relieving the fears of an MTS securitization.  We will know more next week after preliminary budgets are released Tuesday/Wednesday.