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Ohio preschool funding policy cuts millions from schools serving poorest kids

August 10, 2016
AccessEconomics and Finance
Sara Dorn

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.”