The Appropriations Committee’s proposed FY 12-13 budget is very similar to the Governor’s proposed budget, and as such, it is generally favorable for the early care and education community. The Appropriations’ proposal would, like the Governor’s proposal, maintain or increase funding for most early care and education programs. Additionally, the Appropriations Committee’s proposed budget would keep School Readiness funding for Priority School Districts at FY 11 levels for both FY 12 and FY 13 (the Governor’s proposal had reduced this funding by 1.4% ). The Appropriations Committee’s proposed budget would also restore funding to the Nurturing Families Network at non-hospital sites through a $3.2 million increase to the Children’s Trust Fund line item, which helps maintain Connecticut’s competiveness for federal funding for home visitation programs.
However, like the Governor’s proposal, the Appropriations proposal would reduce funding for the Care4Kids program in FY 12.
It also reduces funding for quality enhancement grants in Priority School Districts by 5% from the Governor’s proposal. The administration of state-funded child care centers would be moved from DSS to the State Department of Education (SDE). However, the proposal (like the Governor’s) does not provide any funding for a separate Department of Early Education and Child Development, and merely moving the state-funded centers to SDE does not solve underlying issues of duplicate reporting requirements, multiple funding streams, inadequate parent outreach, insufficient quality control, inadequate attention to workforce development, and poor data collection and analysis.
In summary, during a year with one of the largest budget deficits, the Appropriations Committee’s proposed budget, like the Governor’s, does an admirable job of preserving programs, with beginning – but very incomplete – recognition of the need for a truly integrated early care and education system.