Keeping Pre-K Stable Helps Georgia Children and Parents
State leaders have called for across-the-board budget cuts to education, health care and every other program and service Georgians need. To avert cuts to services funded through the state general funds, like K-12 education, lawmakers should raise revenues. Some programs, such as HOPE and pre-K, are funded by the lottery. Lottery revenues are not likely to fall much, yet state leaders still proposed deep and damaging cuts to pre-K.
Agency proposals included cuts to pre-K that would eliminate 4,000 slots. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to restore these cuts and keep pre-K whole. However, this restoration of cuts will not be finalized until the full Senate and House vote to approve the same version and the governor signs the budget into law. Lawmakers and the governor should maintain pre-K funding to support Georgia’s youngest learners and their families.
Eliminating Classrooms Would Fall Most Heavily on Black Children and Families
Pre-K cuts would hurt young children’s access to early education, parents who need to return to work, pre-K teachers who are already underpaid and private and non-profit pre-K providers struggling to re-open. Proposed cuts eliminated 4,000 pre-K slots, 60 summer transition classrooms and funding for before and after-school care for children from low-income families receiving state child care subsidies. Nearly 34,000 Black children enroll in Georgia pre-K and summer programs, 30,000 white children and 13,000 Latinx children. Reducing the school year by 13 days also cuts valuable instructional time and pay for pre-K teachers, undoing the previous pay raise and inflicting an added pay cut.
Pre-K Funding Not Facing a Shortfall
However, different dynamics in lottery funds make pre-K cuts unnecessary. Historically, lottery ticket sales remain relatively stable during economic downturns. In 2011, lottery ticket sales decreased by 2 percent, the largest decrease since 2001. Currently, the lottery projects a slight decrease for the budget year ending June 2020 due to a sales dip in March, but reports that sales grew again in April. Pre-K costs are predictable through the year, and funding changes infrequently from appropriations bills to amended budgets.
Lawmakers Created Fallback Plan For Pre-K To Avoid Pre-Emptive Cuts
Lawmakers’ past policy decisions put pre-K in a strong position to weather potential temporary decreases in ticket sales. Georgia has saved more than $1.2 billion in unspent lottery reserves that must be used for education. Reserves dedicated to HOPE shortfalls are legally mandated at 50 percent of prior-year lottery proceeds and stands at $572 million. Right now, lawmakers can use $706 million in excess reserves for pre-K, more than twice the total cost of the pre-K program.
In addition, several policy changes put Georgia’s lottery-funded programs in a much stronger position than the last recession. The current HOPE shortfall requirement is five times higher than the original requirement. Today, most HOPE spending does not increase automatically with tuition rates; it is set every year by the state. And the university system announced no tuition increases for 2020-2021, eliminating any pressure on lottery funds due to tuition increases.Agency proposals included cuts to pre-K that would eliminate 4,000 slots. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to restore these cuts and keep pre-K whole.
Private Pre-K vs. Georgia Lottery Pre-K
Favorite Time Academy believes that all families should have access to affordable, quality, early childhood education programs. In keeping with that belief we have chosen to not only provide a Private Pre-K Program but, also, to provide the Georgia Lottery Funded Pre-K Program. The greatest challenge that the State Pre-K continues to face is under-funding, while costs continue to rise and provider restrictions by the state hinder quality in the program. Below you will find some general comparisons that may help you in your decision:
Faith Based Christian Curriculum
Private Pre-K is a Christian Faith based Program using The Creative Curriculum and A Beka Curriculum. Georgia Pre-K is a Non-Faith Based Program using only Creative Curriculum.
Higher Quality Group Size and Teacher/Student Ratios
Private Pre-K has a smaller class size with 15 children in the class. Current research suggests that young children learn more effectively in smaller group and class sizes. Smaller class sizes allow for more individualized instruction and attention. Georgia Pre-K has a larger class size. There are 22 children in each class. In recent years Georgia Pre-K has increased the class sizes due to funding cuts in the program.
Private Pre-K includes the Safety Sam Bus Safety Program. Favorite Time is one of the only centers in the area that has invested in Pro-Tech Bus Restraint Seats that allow us to have field trips for four-year-olds. Georgia Pre-K doesn’t include Field Trips; however, Georgia Pre-K ASP students that attend recess breaks and holiday breaks will have an opportunity to attend field trips.
Private Pre-K offers student uniforms. GA Pre-K may or may not have uniforms based on parent preferences each year.
Private Pre-K allows more flexibility with drop off and pick up times. A child will not lose their spot if they are not in attendance. Georgia Pre-K has a standard 6.5 hour instructional day. Students must attend school days and most arrive and depart at scheduled times. Attendance and tardiness are monitored.
Advanced and Enrichment Curriculums
Private Pre-K allows more flexibility in implementing advanced and tailored curriculum in the classroom. Private Pre-K includes Creative Curriculum and these additional programs: Zoo Phonics, Handwriting without Tears, Technology & Computers, and Spanish with Pancho our Puppet. Georgia Pre-K follows Bright from the Start standards for Pre-K including developing fine motor skills for writing preparation. Beginning phonics and reading are not taught. Instructional time includes letter recognition and phonological awareness verses actually teaching phonics.
Please call today to reserve your child’s spot in our Private Pre-K.Private Pre-K vs. Georgia Lottery Pre-K Favorite Time Academy believes that all families should have access to affordable, quality, early childhood education programs. In keeping with that belief ]]>