Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Governor Cooper Visits Charlotte Child Care Center, Highlights Urgent Funding Need For Early Childhood Education and Child Care

Jun 18, 2024

Today, Governor Roy Cooper visited The Early Learning Center Preschool in Charlotte and visited several classrooms to see strong child care in action as well as learning and growing through engaging activities. The Governor was joined by President and CEO of Child Care Resources Inc. Janet Singerman and local officials as he highlighted the urgent funding need for early childhood education and child care. The Early Learning Center Preschool is a 5-star licensed child care center and NC Pre-K program provider.

“Child care centers like The Early Learning Center Preschool teach children important building blocks and help prepare them for their future," said Governor Cooper. “A lack of access to child care is preventing parents from entering the workforce, meanwhile Republican legislators plan to spend $625 million on taxpayer-funded private school vouchers. We must address the upcoming funding cliff and invest in early childhood education and child care.”

“Increasing the budget for Early Childhood Education is essential for enhancing the quality of care and early education, which directly impacts children's development and future academic success,” said The Early Learning Center Preschool Administrative Assistant Artasia Porter-Harris. “This investment not only supports working parents by offering affordable and reliable childcare options but also stimulates economic growth by enabling parents to participate fully in the workforce. Additionally, well-funded childcare centers can attract and retain qualified staff, ensuring a safe and nurturing environment for children.”

“High-quality child care programs support healthy development and early learning for young children, during the most critical years of children’s development,” said President and CEO of Child Care Resources Inc. Janet Singerman. “Our programs here in Charlotte and across the state need well-trained early childhood teachers. Without adequate compensation and the support to sustain their quality, we are in danger of losing three in ten child care programs and 92,000 child spaces.”

Child Care Resources Inc. works to ensure children have access to quality, affordable early learning opportunities. Child Care Resources Inc. is the administrator for Mecklenburg County’s child care subsidy programs and is the grantee for Early Head Start – Child Care partnerships in Mecklenburg and Burke Counties.

A recent statewide survey shows that nearly a third of North Carolina child care centers are at risk of closing their doors when the Child Care Stabilization Grants that were made possible by federal funding end in June. Without additional investment, survey results show that North Carolina’s child care centers will lose quality teachers, have difficulty hiring, and will have to raise fees on parents.

North Carolina’s nationally-recognized NC Pre-K program is also at risk this year. Instead of providing the investment needed to sustain and grow this celebrated and high-quality program, the legislature has chosen to funnel $625 million in taxpayer-funded private school vouchers to the wealthy.

In April, Governor Cooper released his recommended budget for FY 2024-2025, Securing North Carolina’s Futurethat includes an urgently needed $745 million investment to strengthen access to child care and early education for working families. Governor Cooper’s budget provides child care stabilization grants to ensure child care centers stay open and can continue serving children, prioritizes funding to help working families afford childcare, helps qualified educators afford to keep teaching, and makes child care more available, especially in our rural areas.

The Governor’s budget proposal includes:

  • $200 million for Child Care Stabilization Grants to keep child care centers open when federal funding ends this summer. These grants support better compensation for the early educator workforce to keep good teachers in our early childhood classrooms.
  • $128.5 million for the Child Care Subsidy Program to increase rates that will benefit child care providers and families in rural and lower-wealth communities and $10 million for Smart Start. Investments will help recruit and retain early childhood educators by providing competitive wages, plus help for early childhood teachers to afford child care for their own children.
  • $197 million for the NC Pre-K Program to increase rates to cover the full cost for NC Pre-K students, which is needed to shore up the program.
  • $24.4 million for summer care and learning programs for students after they complete NC Pre-K and before they enter kindergarten.
  • A refundable child and dependent care tax credit worth up to $600 for the average family of four that will further reduce the burden of child care costs for working families.

Governor Cooper declared 2024 as the Year of Public Schools and has been touring public schools and early childhood education programs across the state calling for investments in K-12 education, early childhood education and teacher pay. The Governor has also called for a stop to state spending on vouchers for unaccountable and unregulated private schools until North Carolina’s public schools are fully funded.

Governor Cooper is committed to prioritizing public schools and to hearing from the many communities across the state who know that strong public schools ensure we have strong communities.

Read "The Year of Public Schools" proclamation here.

Read more about the truth of North Carolina's voucher program here.


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