Weekly News - July 24, 2017

Budget Update

As we all know by now, there was no budget vote on July 18. However, what did happen on July 18 - SEBAC (State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition) announced the results of union voting for a concessions package - one that many of the proposed budgets are built on for savings. Union members voted 83%-17% to approve of the package, which includes wage freezes, increased contributions for health insurance and pensions, and other benefit-related concessions. The deal, while agreed upon by the unions, needs to be ratified by the legislature. CT Mirror has more. 

Legislators were summoned to Hartford on Monday for a veto override session, which is constitutionally-required. They voted to override one of the governor's vetoes, but they did not take on the budget. The House did vote to narrowly pass (78-72) the SEBAC agreement. It now goes to the Senate for its vote, expected July 31. CT Newsjunkie has more.  

Many groups are keeping the pressure on and urging their legislators to increase revenue. During an event at the Capitol last Tuesday, five people, three in wheelchairs, were arrested and charged with trespassing for refusing to leave Governor Malloy's Office. They wanted to make it known that an austerity budget was not acceptable. They wanted revenue options seriously considered.  

If you haven't spoken to your legislators, do it now. Don't assume your neighbor is doing it - legislators need to hear from all of us. We know for a fact that they're not hearing nearly enough from us. Tell them you support increased revenue, whether it's the income tax, sugar tax, tolls, an increase to the cigarette tax. We CANNOT make cuts only. There has to be a balance and this budget has to be fair and moral. Last Friday, Chuck Collins, an author, editor and child of the "one-percent," spoke on WNPR's "Where We Live," noting that those who can afford it, should pay their fair share in making the state a better place for everyone to live. To listen to the full interview, click HERE. 

Also, if you've been more than a little confused with all the budget proposals out there, this helpful graph shows each of the proposals, including mini-budgets and caucus proposals, and plots out what each budget proposes in terms of the Office of Early Childhood, Birth-to-Three and Care4Kids.

A Look at the Budget Proposals

CT Viewpoints: OEC Merger Takes Us Back, Not Forward

You may have seen the CT Viewpoints (part of CT Mirror) opinion piece that Merrill Gay of the CT Early Childhood Alliance penned regarding the Office of Early Childhood. This is a time of uncertainty. Several of the proposed budgets would merge the OEC into the State Department of Education. Advocates worked hard to create an office that brought all early childhood aspects under one roof. The office is three years old and finally all pieces are in place within the entity. This is not the time to dismantle it. Nor is it the time to lose focus on early childhood. To read the full piece, click HERE.

Alliance Hosts Care4Kids Question on Hartford Foundation Early Childhood Collaborative Website

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving's Early Childhood Collaborative offers a website, that serves as an early childhood hub for learning, sharing, and networking on the latest early childhood research, best practices and policy. There are various topics of interest for child care providers - particularly in the Hartford Region - to share and discuss. Currently, the CT Early Childhood Alliance is leading a discussion on the Care4Kids topic. To find our discussion, click HERE.  You can also find the site here - http://www.hfpgcollaborative.org/ You'll have to set up a FREE account to comment. Check it out and join the conversation!

QRIS Pilot Planned

The CT Office of Early Childhood (OEC) is piloting a QRIS to recognize the quality work of early care and education providers. The OEC held listening tours in the fall and spring to guide the development of the QRIS. A draft QRIS is now ready for pilot within the state.

The OEC is recruiting approximately 100 early care and education providers to participate in a pilot of QRIS. The OEC welcomes all types of early care and education programs, including home-based providers, center-based providers, public school preschool, and others.

As a pilot site, in the fall you will receive a pre-recognition "score" based on the QRIS model. You will then be offered technical assistance on an area you self-select, based on the "score" through the winter. Finally, in the spring, you will receive a post-recognition "score." These scores will only be used as data for the model and will not be made publically available by program. There is also the expectation that the pilot sites will attend focus groups in the fall and spring to support the development of the Family Engagement pillar and Leadership pillar. Finally, pilot sites will be using the QRIS DRAFT workbook and providing feedback. 

If you are interested in participating in the pilot of QRIS, complete the brief online survey at the link no later than August 1, 2017. Completing this form only indicates your program's interest and is not a commitment to participate in the pilot. You can anticipate that you will hear back with further details regarding participation in the pilot by September 1, 2017. This survey will help the OEC choose participants from across the state. 

Governors Tell Congress: Early Ed is Just as Crucial as Health Care, Tax Reform

The National Governors Association has taken a strong stand by saying, "education and care for our youngest learners is equally important to our nation as health care, tax reform and investments in infrastructure." This comes in the form of a letter sent Thursday to the U.S. House and Senate Education Committees. To read the Education Week article and the full letter, click HERE. 

Support for the Alliance comes from of our members and our funders: The William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, Connecticut Health Foundation, Children's Fund of Connecticut, CT Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, a project of CT Council of Philanthropy; The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut; Community Foundation of Greater New Britain; Community Foundation of Greater New Haven; The Fund for Greater Hartford; and The Eder Family Foundation