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Ohio preschool funding policy cuts millions from schools serving poorest kids


August 10, 2016
AccessEconomics and Finance
Sara Dorn
cleveland.com

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services plans to ban a funding mechanism that allows preschools to receive money from multiple public sources. It’s a policy change that could save the state about $12 million annually.

But it has Cuyahoga County preschool providers – particularly those serving children in poverty — scrambling to figure out how to deal with an estimated $2 million reduction in funding, weeks before the school year is scheduled to begin.

The state views the funding mechanism as a double-dipping of sorts, and claims some preschool providers have been receiving “dual payments” from both state child care coffers and the federal government’s Head Start program, according to an Aug. 1 memo from Job and Family Services Director Cynthia Dungey. The memo, which was sent to advisors for Gov. John Kasich, explains that the department will rectify the problem by enforcing a rule in the Ohio Administrative Code, “which ensures that if a state or federal program is providing payment for a specific child the publicly funded child care program will not pay for the same time period.”