FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2017
Office of Early Learning
Communications Office 850-717-8604
GOV. SCOTT’S SECURING FLORIDA’S FUTURE BUDGET INVESTS IN FLORIDA’S YOUNGEST STUDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES
Tallahassee, Fla. – Governor Scott announced today that the 2018-2019 Securing Florida’s Future budget recommends $1.1 billion for the Office of Early Learning, an increase of $31.3 million. These investments will help ensure the future of early childhood education and care for Florida families.
Governor Scott said, “As a father and grandfather, I know firsthand how important early learning is when it comes to preparing children for future success in the school and beyond. The investments we are making will ensure our youngest learners have access to high quality learning.”
- Record $408.4 million for the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Education Program: More than 163,000 children were enrolled last year in the state’s free VPK program, which prepares 4-and-5-year-olds for kindergarten. The Governor’s budget includes an $11.6 million increase, raising the base student allocation $50 per child in the VPK school-year program (from $2,437 to $2,487) and $43 per child in the summer program (from $2,080 to $2,123).
- $630.9 million for the School Readiness Program: The program helps eligible low-income families get child care so parents can work or attend training and/or education programs to be able to work. Florida served more than 203,000 children in the program last year. The Governor's budge includes an increase of $7 million to serve approximately 1,200 more children statewide.
- $15.5 million for Early Learning Performance Funding: Performance-based funding improves outcomes for children in School Readiness by providing special training and incentives to child care providers and instructors.
- $10 million for T.E.A.C.H.: This statewide early childhood scholarship program helps child care center teaching staff, preschool teachers and providers earn certifications and degrees while they continue to work in early childhood and school-age care settings. The education level of child care providers is a critical indicator of early child care quality.
Rodney MacKinnon, executive director of the Office of Early Learning, said, “Florida’s children start getting ready for kindergarten at birth. Governor Scott’s budget reflects his understanding of the importance of early learning. At the Office of Early Learning we work each day to ensure Florida’s youngest children have access to quality programs and enriching learning environmen.”
David Lawrence Jr., chair of The Children’s Movement of Florida, said, “The Governor’s early learning budget plan is a good next step toward helping more children get ready for school and life. We’ve got quite a distance to go in ensuring high-quality programs for all children, but the Governor’s commitment gets us closer."
Matt Guse, CEO of the Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend Region and chair of Florida’s Association of Early Learning Coalitions, said, “The families we serve and the child care providers we partner with will all benefit from increased dollars and resources. Thank you, Governor Scott, for your continued commitment to Florida’s families.”
Adrian Alfonso, board chair of the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe, said, "The Early Learning Coalition of Miami Dade and Monroe applaud Governor Scott. His recommendations clearly acknowledge the need to ensure children enter school ready to succeed."
Roy Keister, president of the Florida Association for Child Care Management (FACCM), said, “As a child care provider and president of a statewide provider organization, I recognize the Governor’s investment in early learning and we, the association, appreciate his commitment to our mission of life-long learning.”
Theresa Little, early learning director of the Diocese of St. Augustine, said, “Early learning supports families and children. I am excited by the remarks and commitments made by our Governor.”
The budget in its entirety is available at http://www.SecuringFloridasFutureBudget.com.