Hit the pause button on Head Start funding change

September 1, 2016 at 9:37 am Leave a comment

headshot of claudia smilingHead Start programs that asked for clarification about their ability to continue “layering” federal dollars to provide more services to their young students were told by the Kasich administration that the practice would not be allowed as of September 6. The change will result in Head Start providers in Ohio losing $12 million in federal funding.

The rule promulgated by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services in June makes Ohio an “extended hours” state. This means that federal funds for early childhood education and Head Start programs can’t be used to provide additional or enhanced services but only to serve these students for additional hours. The rule changes the practice that has been in place for the last 15 years.

girl_reading education.jpgSenator Lehner, chair of the Senate Education Committee and with whom Philanthropy Ohio has worked on a number of education policy reform issues in recent years, explained “It’s going to have a significant impact. It’s actually going to cause a number of children to be dropped from programs, a number of high-quality teachers that are more expensive than others to be let go and I can’t begin to overplay the impact that this decision is going to have on the quality of programs for us in the state of Ohio.”

child plays with cubes 1

We sent the following letter to Governor Kasich last week, as part of our ongoing Education Initiative’s focus on increasing access and quality in early childhood education.

Dear Governor Kasich,

For over a decade, Philanthropy Ohio has been steadfast in its commitment to ensuring all of Ohio’s children have access to high-quality education opportunities. As the state’s only association that provides the network, tools and knowledge to help people engaged in philanthropy become more effective, powerful change agents in their communities, we have worked with members of our Education Advisory Committee to advocate for policies that positively impact Ohio’s youngest, most vulnerable learners and improve early childhood education.

I am writing to you to express Philanthropy Ohio’s concern regarding the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ recent decision to prohibit the layering of federal and state funds for early childhood education programs in Ohio. While we are not taking a position on whether the layering of Head Start funds on top of Child Care funds is an appropriate practice, we strongly encourage you to pause the administration’s decision and more fully study the potential impacts before the current proposed changes take effect on September 6, 2016.

Given the profound impact this decision will have on the lives of our teachers, children and families in Ohio, potentially leading to less access to high-quality programs for those most needing such services – and given your passionate support for early education – I urge you to devote the time necessary to collaborate with stakeholders and come to an informed decision about what is best for our children and families.

Claudia Y.W. Herrold

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Entry filed under: Commentaries, Ohio Issues, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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