Policy Brief/Analysis

Guide to Support Pre-K Expansion

Ensuring Adequate Resources for Expanding High Quality Pre-K

Guide to Support Pre-K Expansion

There are three critical steps to ensure adequate funding for high quality pre-K. First, fully specify quality standards, the number of children to be served, and a timeline to achieve these; then cost it out year-by-year if these increase over time. Care must be taken to estimate the full cost including facilities and state and local support and administration. Second, develop an approach to securing revenue to fund the full cost as it rises over time. Some states rely on local and federal funds to share costs. This reduces state burden but can create problems if federal funds disappear or if differences in local fiscal capacity are not taken into account. Third, distribute funding to programs. Although states often use one flat rate per child or per classroom statewide, local costs and fiscal capacity to pay a share vary which can result in equities in enrollment and quality.

The Authors

Dr. Lori Connors-Tadros is a recognized national leader in early care and education policy and research and provides technical assistance to states to use research to craft and implement effective policies. Lori has deep expertise in comprehensive state early childhood systems, finance and governance for effective policy implementation, leadership and agency capacity to implement policy and improve access, and research and policy to improve outcomes for young children.

GG Weisenfeld is a Senior ECE Policy Specialist at the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University, Graduate School of Education.