Rhode Island KIDS COUNT - News, Research and Policy Information
June 25, 2010
Special Issue:
Early Childhood Policy Updates
Governor Appoints State Early Learning Council
Governor Carcieri has established a 24-member Early Learning Council to work to ensure that Rhode Island children from birth to school entry have access to high quality early learning experiences in a variety of settings. Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist and Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Executive Director of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, were appointed co-chairs of the Council. The first meeting of the Early Learning Council will be held on Tuesday, June 29, 2010 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at The Rhode Island Foundation, One Union Station, Providence. All meetings are open to the public.
The appointment of a state Early Learning Council is a provision of the federal 2007 Head Start Reauthorization Act. The Early Learning Council will facilitate the development or enhancement of high-quality systems of early childhood education and care, from birth to age 8, with the goal of improving school readiness and success in school. The Council will develop a state plan that will seek to align resources to support high quality early care and education services and to improve coordination and collaboration among multiple agencies, organizations, and programs.
Rhode Island Education Funding Formula Includes Pre-K Expansion Plan
Boys on a boat
The School Funding Formula law (House Bill 8094A) was signed by Governor Carcieri on Wednesday, June 23, 2010. The law establishes a funding formula for Rhode Island public schools, based on student enrollment and student need, to be phased in over a 10-year period beginning in state fiscal year 2012. Rhode Island has been the only state without an education funding formula. The funding formula includes some categorical funding for voluntary, free, high-quality Pre-Kindergarten programs to help close the achievement gap for children in the highest need communities in the state. The program will include a mixed delivery system that will target communities that have a high proportion of children eligible for free and reduced price lunch.
Pre-K Lottery
The Pre-K Demonstration Program will continue for a second year with seven classrooms in four communities using a mixed delivery system that includes child care, Head Start and public school sites. Families with 4 year-old-children in Central Falls, Providence, Warwick and Woonsocket may register for the Pre-K Lottery by completing an application and calling the Pre-K Lottery Hotline (490-9960) between June 16 and July 13 to schedule an initial child assessment.
Early Childhood State Budget Update
RI State House
Head Start
State funding of $800,000 per year for Head Start will continue for FY 2011 preserving the 129 state-funded slots for preschoolers from low-income families. There are 2,455 preschool children served by Head Start statewide.

Child Care Subsidy Program
Fortunately, the 5% proposed rate cut to child care providers did not pass. Eligibility and reimbursement rates for the state's child care subsidy program will remain the same. There are approximately 7,400 children ages birth to 12 enrolled in the child care subsidy program.

Pre-K Demonstration Program
The current state Pre-K funding of $700,000 per year will be continued for FY 2011 (plus some federal Title I funding from the Providence and Central Falls school districts) so the seven Pre-K Demonstration classrooms serving 126 children will continue operating in the 2010-2011 school year.  The Pre-K Demonstration program evaluation being conducted by the National Institute for Early Education Research will continue for the second year.
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In This Issue
starGovernor Appoints State Early Learning Council
starRI Education Funding Formula Includes Pre-K Expansion Plan
starPre-K Lottery
starEarly Childhood State Budget Update
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Rhode Island KIDS COUNT works to improve the health, education, safety, economic security and development of Rhode Island's children.