Planning, Budgeting, and Finance │ Center for Early Learning Systems
Developing a rationale and approach for expanding access to preschool or other early care and education programs is an important part of the planning process. AIR offers tools for planning and budgeting for quality initiatives on a “system-wide” basis, such as within a state, county, city, or one or more school districts. AIR also offers information on finance options.
There are both short-term and long-term approaches to financing quality preschool. A long-term strategy might be to secure a stable state or federal revenue source and investment equivalent to that in kindergarten. But even in the event that such a source became available, localities may still want to consider supplemental finance strategies. As is the case with K-12 education in the United States, even preschool initiatives with a dedicated state revenue source are unlikely to get all the support they need.
AIR offers technical assistance related to finance options from a local perspective. Some of the options are sufficient to sustain access to preschool, at least within targeted neighborhoods, even without a statewide dedicated funding source.
Related Resources and Tools
California Preschool Phase-In Example (PDF) is an example from the California Preschool Planning Toolkit, 2006, of how a county can upgrade existing slots and create new slots to reach the total desired population of four-year-olds over an eight-year timeframe.
The Preschool for All - Step by Step Toolkit (PDF, 222 pages) was developed by AIR in January 2004 to assist counties in planning for Preschool for All programs.
Maximizing Existing Funding Sources to Sustain and Enhance Progress on Preschool (PDF) is a presentation by AIR staff from 2007 that estimates the impact that maximizing revenue sources, such as Title 1, California Pre-K/Family Literacy (AB 172) funds, and parent fees can have on the financing of preschool statewide.
Riverside County Preschool Plan Advisory Group (PDF) is a presentation by AIR staff from 2007 that presents prioritization criteria for phasing in preschool and how Title I, state AB172, and parent fees can be used to fund different phase-in scenarios in Riverside County, California.
Funding Preschool in San Diego County (PDF) is a presentation by AIR staff from 2007 that estimates the cost of different targeting scenarios in San Diego County, California and how federal Title I and some (then new) state funds can be used to fund different phase-in scenarios in San Diego County.
Possible Existing Funding Sources (Word) contains a list and description of possible existing funding sources for preschool, made available at the October 2006 First 5 Association Preschool Learning Exchange Preschool Finance Symposium.
Potential Capacity of Title I Merced County (Excel) is an example of one county's use of Title I dollars to fund preschool.