Early Learning Funding at Risk!

Governor’s Proposed Cuts Would Dim State’s Chance to Race to the Top!
Recently the state of Washington put forth a STRONG proposal for early learning funding through the federal government’s Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge. This grant opportunity would provide $60 million of essential funding for early learning over the next 4 years. When the feds released this grant, they also articulated clear criteria they will be using to decide which states are funded. What was at the top of that criteria list? States’ commitment to current early learning investments.
That is why the Governor’s release of cuts she is considering to balance the state’s budget deficit is so alarming. The early learning/child care cuts she has “preliminarily” chosen to be a part of her budget include:

  • Elimination of all state funding for Child Care Resource & Referral (parent referrals, provider trainings and consultation)
  • Elimination of all state funding for supports for Family, Friend and Neighbor caregivers
  • $50 million cut to Working Connections Child Care (child care subsidies)
  • Elimination of state funding for Reach Out and Read, a literacy program that enables pediatricians to give books to families
  • Elimination of state funding to administer child care subsidies for seasonal workers

The federal government will decide which states are awarded Race to the Top funds in December, at the same time the Governor has called for a special session to make state funding cuts. To the best of our knowledge, Washington is the only state that is taking these steps at this time. This obviously puts our state’s application for $60 million in significant risk.
Please take a moment to write the Governor and your elected legislators to let them know that NOW is not the time to cut early learning.

In the long term it is proven that our state will be better off if more children receive a high quality early learning experience. In the short term our state will be much better off staying in contention for this critical funding source. The amount of cuts to child care/early learning that the Governor has outlined does not even add up to the amount of funding we would be walking away from if these cuts go through.
Thank you very much for all that you do for Washington’s children!

The WA St. Child Care Resource & Referral Network