State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) today called on Gov. Kasich to put a stop to an administrative rule change effective Sept. 6 that will negatively impact Head Start/ childcare partnerships across the state by leaving them with fewer resources to provide critical enrichment opportunities to vulnerable, low-income Ohio children and their families. Lucas County Commissioners and leaders along with Lucas County, Cuyahoga County and Summit County Democratic lawmakers joined Republican state Senators Peggy Lehner, Shannon Jones and Bill Beagle in writing to Gov. Kasich to ask him to reverse the administrative rule change.
“Just as the new school year is set to begin, the administration is changing the rules in order to cut millions of dollars in Head Start and childcare funding,” said Fedor, the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee. “We must get back on track to advance our early initiatives across our state.”
The state estimates the rule change will cut $12 million in state funding to pre-school providers throughout Ohio, not counting hundreds of millions of lost dollars in federal grants for early childhood programs. Reductions in quality and services could include:
-Increased adult/child ratios.
-Ending health screenings.
-Ending community collaborative partnerships with Head Start.
-Reduction in staff educational qualifications.
-Ending early learning assessments that guide individualized child instruction.
Data compiled by childcare advocates shows that the funding cuts will disproportionately impact minority students in the state’s urban centers.* Lucas County programming will lose nearly $1 million under the rule change, while Cuyahoga County child care centers will lose roughly $2 million.
The new restriction jeopardizes existing federal funding awards for partnerships this program year due to budgetary assumptions by providers that they would still be allowed to layer funds. The Sept. 6 effective date could cancel out existing programs and services based on budgets that are currently being implemented.
The Toledo lawmaker also noted that the rule change to defund preschool providers was proposed without consulting or even briefing the Early Childhood Advisory Council or childcare experts throughout the state.