Pre-K changes will limit number of childen served

May. 22, 2013 @ 11:13 AM

Recent house legislation could harm NC Pre-K, which offers pre-kindergarten services to children in the community. 

The bill was amended in the house to change the definition of "at-risk" to families at 130 percent or below the poverty line. This is an increase from the originally proposed 100 percent and the new requirement reflects what it is Governor Pat McCrory's budget. 

Mary Ann Rasberry, executive director of The Alliance for Children wrote in an e-mail that the change could mean fewer children are served. Though she said they will not know how much it will impact Union County until all the applications are processed. 

In addition to changing the at-risk definition, the bill also proposes changing the name of the child care commission to the "Early Childhood Care and Education Commission" and would expand the scope of the commission to deal with all levels of early childhood care. 

The bill would also ban local school administrative units from serving as the contract administrators for NC Pre-K. Rasberry said that is not the case in Union County, so that change would not impact them.

The proposed Senate budget could also be of concern to the Alliance for Children, which administers Smart Start in addition to NC Pre-K.

According to a statement from Smart Start, the Senate's proposed budget would cut the early childhood program by about 42 percent. 


"A cut of this magnitude means that some communities may lose their local Smart Start partnership," the statement said.