Louisiana Voters Support Increased Funding for Early Care and Education
A new poll by Ragner Research Partners, commissioned by the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, found that 86% of likely voters in Louisiana believe quality, affordable child care is an important issue in their communities, and a majority (62%) support increasing state funding for quality child care that would benefit working families. This includes over 50% of voters in each region of the state, 50% of conservative voters, and 86% of liberal voters.

The Governor and Legislature, as well as the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, have all acknowledged the work of the Early Childhood Care and Education Commission, which concluded that Louisiana needs a large infusion of state funding into programs that care for our 0-3 year-olds. This research shows voters not only agree with increased investment in early care and education, but demand more help in these programs now.

Additional survey findings include:
  • A strong majority (81%) of likely voters believe the government should have some role in providing child care. 
  • A majority (53%) of likely voters viewed cost and lack of quality teachers as the biggest obstacles to getting quality child care. 
  • A majority (53%) of likely voters said they prefer all children have access to early childhood development, not only children of struggling families.

Louisiana decision makers are acknowledging the disastrous results of continually decreasing funding for Louisiana’s early care and education programs over the last decade, but a united will among state lawmakers and the Administration is missing so far. We hope this is something that will be addressed the coming weeks of the Legislative Session.

For complete poll results, click here, and for more information, read this article in the Advocate.
Legislative Updates
House Committee Rejects Proposed Education Budget
Last week, the Louisiana House Education Committee refused to adopt a state school funding formula, which included over $100 million for teacher and school staff pay raises and $39 million in additional per pupil funding for K-12 public schools.

All of the Committee members supported the additional funds for pay raises, but Republicans on the Committee said the $39 million for K-12 schools might be better spent on other funding priorities, including early childhood education. For further details see Money for early childhood or public schools? 'It seems like a Sophie's choice'

Sports Betting and Early Childhood Education
Although legislation to legalize sports betting has just started its path through the Legislature, there has been a lot of discussion around dedicating those tax revenues to early care and education to provide a stable source of funding in the future. Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee approved a system to collect taxes on sports betting and agreed that these revenues should primarily benefit early childhood education.

In addition, although fantasy sports is still in its infancy, the Committee approved legislation to allocate any proceeds from fantasy sports to help fund the education and care for children from birth to three years old. Very little state revenue is expected to be collected from this source, however.  

It should be noted that although funds from combined sports betting and fantasy sports could provide a secure source of funding down the line, which is important, it would only fund a small portion of what is needed and would not provide any of the needed funds for the coming fiscal year.
The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) advances policies to ensure that Louisiana's young children are ready for success in school and in life. We are a source of nonpartisan, independent information on issues concerning children ages birth through four in Louisiana. We also develop policy proposals informed by data, research, best practices and the experiences of other states for improving the outcomes of Louisiana’s young children, and then provide educational and outreach activities around these recommended policy solutions.

To learn how to support LPIC, click here . For the latest news and updates on early care and education, visit our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, contact Melanie Bronfin, mmbronfin@policyinstitutela.org.