Pre-K Now and Washington Appleseed today released Funding the Future: States' Approaches to Pre-K Finance, a first-ever examination of how policymakers nationwide have found innovative approaches to financing pre-kindergarten. Diana Stone of Washington Appleseed authored the report.
"Pre-K Now is pleased that, even with continuing tight budgets and fiscal uncertainty, more and more states are committing to high-quality pre-k," said Libby Doggett, executive director of Pre-K Now. "Pre-k is gradually being integrated into the K-12 educational system because state legislatures and governors are increasingly aware of the overwhelming research that supports the benefits of early learning."
Nationwide, policymakers have stopped asking, "why provide pre-k?" and begun asking, "how do we fund pre-k?" As the urgency and breadth of the need for support becomes widely understood, states are increasingly looking for new sources of funding. The report is designed to assist policymakers and advocates in examining the range of pre-k funding options available and to highlight the national leaders who have proven how to get it done.
The report covers the wide array of approaches states have used to finance pre-k programs. North Carolina and Georgia use lottery funds; Arkansas employs a beer tax; Missouri uses gaming revenues and California has a cigarette tax. While these are important components of pre-k funding, the vast majority of states use general revenues for their pre-k programs.
"The best programs in the country continue to have the highest quality standards and a commitment to providing money to serve more children," Doggett said. "It's clear that states want to improve their schools by moving to a Pre-K-12 system."