Dear Friends and Colleagues, I wanted to share with you some very exciting news… our hard work is paying off! This afternoon, the Senate released its version of HB 166, the State’s FY 20-21 Operating Budget, which includes a BRAND NEW $10 million investment of state general fund dollars in quality infrastructure grants. This additional investment will create a competitive opportunity for local communities to support child care programs who are seeking to fulfill their commitment to quality by June 30, 2020. Early childhood stakeholders will be able to apply for one-time funds to be spent on quality workforce supports including but not limited to wage incentives and assistance with certification and degree attainment, professional development and technical assistance, facilities improvement and classroom supplies, and curriculum and assessment. The Senate also supported Groundwork’s effort to “hold harmless” those child care providers from 13 counties who would have seen cuts to reimbursement rates on July 1, 2019 based on the Administration’s proposed updates to the rate structure. In counties where families already struggle to access affordable child care, the “hold harmless” seeks to prevent further loss of supply and support providers’ ability to improve program quality. This proposed investment is a big win for families and early childhood educators across the state, but we need your help to make sure this commitment to quality child care is included in the final budget. Over the next week, we expect the Senate to finish its work on the budget, which will then be sent to conference committee whereby a small group of members of the House and Senate, along with the Governor’s office will work to create the final budget bill. This final negotiated bill must be passed by both chambers of the General Assembly and signed by the Governor before July 1, 2019. We need your help now more than ever! Please take 2 minutes to do these two things:
POSTCARDS: Our efforts last month clearly made a difference but now we must really turn up the volume. In order to keep early learning as a top priority during this time, we have created a NEW OPPORTUNITY for you to share your passion for quality early education with your legislators. If you participated in our last postcard drive, we hope you will take this NEW opportunity to engage your elected officials in our important work. If you didn’t participate in May, now is the chance to redeem yourself! Just click here to fill out your name and contact information by Friday at noon and Groundwork will take care of the rest!
SOCIAL MEDIA: Show your appreciation for the Ohio Senate RIGHT NOW by celebrating the proposed new investments on social media. Be sure to tag your senator (here's a list of twitter handles). Don't know what to say? Download our toolkit here for sample tweets and images to share.
Thank you for your continued commitment to early childhood education and for taking the time to advocate for Ohio’s littlest learners! Together, we can work to build a brighter future for our state.
Warm personal regards,
P.S. Don't forget to fill out your postcard!