Early Education Funding Threatened
Recent, prolonged negotiations at the state and federal levels that appeared to be over will still have an impact for early education funding later this year.
First, the state budget was completed several weeks ago and made deep cuts to early education programs, though even larger proposed cuts were avoided. However, the budget included more early education cuts that would be triggered automatically if state tax collections did not come in at optimistically projected levels. Unfortunately, State Controller John Chiang has announced that the state's revenue is down more than 10 percent from the budget projections. This situation must improve considerably by January to avoid the trigger cuts to early education.
At the federal level, the recent agreement between Congress and the President to raise the debt ceiling could also lead to cuts to federal early education programs such as Head Start, Early Head Start, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Title I. The agreement called for more than $917 million in cuts to federal programs over 10 years. It also created the new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, known by some as the "Supercommittee" to recommend an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction plan, which could include more cuts, more revenues, changes to the tax code or changes to major programs such as Medicare or Social Security.
If Congress and the President do not approve the committee's plan, then $600 million of domestic spending cuts would be automatically triggered, along with an equal amount of defense spending cuts. Early education programs are at risk throughout this process, so it is crucial to contact your members in the House of Representatives and the Senate and voice your support for Head Start, Early Head Start, CCDBG and ESEA Title I.