FRANKFORT, Ky. — Early childhood education is in a fragile state right now, according to Brigitte Blom of The Prichard Committee.
“As long as it remains a fragile ecosystem, Kentucky’s families and Kentucky’s economy face an uncertain future,” she said.
What You Need To Know
- Early childhood education in Kentucky is in a fragile state right now, according to a report from the Prichard Committee
- Many centers faced struggles before COVID-19, and once COVID hit, many used federal COVID relief dollars to keep the doors open
- Once the federal funding runs out, 71% of centers surveyed will likely raise tuition and 22% face potential closure
- The group is calling on lawmakers to provide some relief before they craft a budget in 2024
The education group co-authored a report looking into just how fragile early childhood education is, and it’s not good.
Many centers faced struggles before COVID-19, and once COVID hit, many used federal COVID relief dollars to keep the doors open.
The report said once the federal money runs out, 71% of those surveyed will likely raise tuition and nearly 39% will have to cut wages. Around 27% will layoff staff and 22% face potential closure, the report found.
“Kentucky’s families and businesses cannot afford to lose more child care,” Blom said.
The group is calling on lawmakers to provide some relief before they craft a budget in 2024.
Sen. Danny Carroll (R-Benton) said they’re working on a plan.
“We can’t propose funding in the budget without having a plan that everyone is not necessarily going to agree on, but just gain a general consensus that it is a proper path forward and it will accomplish all the various goals that we have,” he said.
Carroll co-chairs a task force that’s studying the issue, and he said they haven’t quite gotten behind a single solution yet because it’s complicated.
“That cost could vary depending on the structure that we look at,” Carroll said. “And we look at what type of child care, what type of provider needs more assistance, and looking at the rates across the state, and looking at the needs of the business world and the workforce and those issues.”
He said there could be a temporary solution passed next year.
“We’ve just got to be very deliberate in our approach to allocating those funds and making sure that we’re investing in the proper places,” Carroll said.