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NCLCCA Advocacy Update

Advocacy Update: June 26, 2019

State Legislators Agree on Compromise State Budget - What about Child Care?

This week legislative leaders in the NC General Assembly unveiled a “compromise” state budget for the next two years that they have been working behind closed doors for the last few weeks.  The new two-year spending plan is a compromise between the state House and Senate, who had each offered their own competing budget proposals earlier in the process.

 

Overall, state legislators increased funding for child care programs, including NC Pre-K, Subsidized Child Care and Smart Start. NC Pre-K funding was directed to a long-overdue reimbursement rate increase for providers, which was a top legislative objective of NCLCCA.  Additional details about child care provisions in the compromise state budget are included below in this report. 

 

The compromise budget is not likely to change before it’s voted on by both chambers and sent to the Governor for his signature.  The Governor has 10 days to either sign or veto the budget sent by lawmakers.  If he vetoes it and legislators are unable to put together a voting block large enough to override his veto, it’s possible that the new budget for 2019-20 and 2020-21 will never take effect.  Instead, the state budget they passed last year would remain in effect.

 

Child Care Provisions in the "Compromise" State Budget

NC Pre-K:

  • $1.7 million in “recurring” funding for 2019-20 and $3.5 million in 2020-21 for a 2% NC Pre-K reimbursement rate increase per year for the next two years.
  • Language in the state budget described their “intent” for the reimbursement rate increase, as follows: “It is the intent of the General Assembly that funds allocated pursuant to this section be used to increase the salaries of teachers working in child care centers as a means to address disparities in teacher salaries among teachers working in child care centers versus those working in public schools or Head Start centers.”
  • Replaces State funds with Federal TANF funds without reducing current/overall funding for the program ($4.1 million funding swap in 2019-20 and $6.1 million 2020-21).

Subsidized Child Care:

  • Roughly $7 million over two years (approximately $3.5 million per year) in Federal CCDF and TANF Contingency block grant funding to expand the Subsidy program. 
  • Replaces State funds with Federal TANF funds ($5.4 million in 2019-20 and $12.6 in 2020-21)

Smart Start:

  • $1.7 million increase in “non-recurring” funding per year for two years for “child care related activities”
  • $300,000 increase in “non-recurring” funding per year for two years for “family support activities”
  • $300,000 increase in “non-recurring” funding per year for two years for “health related activities”
  • $392,654 increase in “recurring” funding per year for two years for Subsidy funding (funding source is CCDF block grant monies)

If any of these budget details change before the two-year state budget is approved and effective, NCLCCA will let you know.  We will continue to monitor legislative activity related to the state budget closely on behalf of all of North Carolina’s licensed child care providers. 


Advocacy Update: June 11, 2019

House Bill 882 Analysis (Click on the links to read relevant sections of the bill)

Section 1 – Establishes new requirements for lead teachers in child care centers.  Requires ALL lead teachers in child care centers to have at least an “Infant-Toddler” or “Preschool” Certificate, replacing the current Early Childhood Credential.  The Community College System and DCDEE have explained that obtaining either of the required Certificates means taking five community college classes (15 credit hours).  Currently employed teachers and those hired before Jan. 1, 2020, will have until July 1, 2021, to get their Certificates. 

Effective Jan. 1, 2020, Section 1 also makes the Early Childhood Credential a pre-service requirement, meaning lead teachers cannot be hired without already having it and will have 18 months after being hired to take the additional community college course to get their Certificate to keep their jobs.

Section 2.(a) – Gives the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) the sole authority to “define the knowledge requirements for early childhood educators by establishing expected competencies for lead teachers” and says that competencies will be tied to the certificates and degrees offered by community colleges and colleges and universities, including Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Early Childhood Education.

Section 3 – Says DCDEE shall develop and implement a program to “incentivize” (NOT provide) “higher teacher education and compensation levels.”  Says DCDEE will do this by providing “subsidy payment enhancements to child care programs that use a salary scale and only employ lead teachers who have obtained a minimum of an associate degree in child development or a related field.” Also says the incentive amount shall be differentiated based on the level of degree attained.  There is NO guarantee of increased compensation in this section or any other section of House Bill 882 and this section appears to ONLY apply to certain programs and/or lead teachers with Associate’s degrees or higher.

Section 4.(a) – Directs DCDEE to conduct a feasibility and cost study for development of a pilot program for birth to 3-year-old classrooms modeled after the NC Pre-K program, including:

  • Teachers with degrees
  • Use of curriculum and formative assessments
  • Improved student-teacher ratios
  • Payment rates for child care programs commensurate with the increased teacher education requirements (There is no funding attached to House Bill 882 for increased “payment rates” and Subsidy reimbursement rates for providers offering subsidized child care serves are already lower than the cost of the programs’ requirements.) 
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