Votes Count: Legislative Action on Pre-K Fiscal Year 2010

Oct 22, 2009

Despite facing historic budget shortfalls, the majority of states have elected once again to invest in evidence-based, proven pre-kindergarten programs.  Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia chose to increase or hold steady their pre-k funding for fiscal year 2010. Alaska and Rhode Island lawmakers approved their first-ever state-funded pre-k programs.

“When you consider the dire economic context, this is a victory for more than one million families with children enrolled in pre-k,” said Marci Young, project director of Pre-K Now.  “In most states, lawmakers recognize that quality pre-k should be a core priority because it provides lasting benefits for children and strong economic returns on investment for taxpayers.”

The non-partisan annual report, “Votes Count: Legislative Action on Pre-K Fiscal Year 2010,” evaluates state budgets to determine which legislatures count voluntary, high-quality pre-k among their top education reform strategies.  Using these numbers, Americans can determine whether their elected leaders are committing the resources necessary to developing the successful students central to tomorrow’s work force.

Download the report. 

Highlights of this year’s analysis include:

  • • Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia increased or are projected to increase pre-k investments by a total of more than $187 million
    • Thirteen legislatures increased investment in existing programs by nearly $130 million: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
    • Two states that previously had no state pre-k programs, approved pilot initiatives: Alaska and Rhode Island.
    • Nine states and the District of Columbia anticipate increases through the school funding formula.
    • Six states maintained investments at FY09 levels: Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri Nevada and Pennsylvania.
    • Among the states suffering the 10 worst budget shortfalls (measured as a percentage of the budget), only Connecticut and New York approved a cut to early education programs.
    • Nine states decreased funding: Connecticut, IllinoisLouisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington.
    • Ohio's cut is estimated to deny pre-k to the largest number of children, at least 12,000.

The report also includes:

  • • Case studies of states leading the effort to provide pre-k;
    • The advantages of one particular funding strategy for early education;
    • Data on the states making the largest cuts and the effect those cuts will have on children's access to high-quality pre-k programs;
    • Information on states that are using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help fund pre-k programs; and
    • A 50-state chart that shows how each state is funding pre-k.
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