Louisiana Appropriates New State Dollars for Early Ed for the First Time in 10 Years
2019 Legislative Session Recap

For the first time in a decade, more Louisiana working families will have crucial support in sending their children to a quality early care and education program thanks to a Governor and Legislative-supported budget that includes an $18.8 million increase for early ed programing and seats. This was accomplished even though the state budget bill started the legislative process with $0 new dollars for early learning for children birth through age four.  

Bottom line:

1,450 additional children will be able to access the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and 800 children will be able to access a Pre-K program with these new funds. In addition, CCAP rates will go up, which is desperately needed to support quality. Also, the land based casino is likely to fund an additional 580 children and incentivize an equal number of slots with matching local public and private dollars. 

This was accomplished through a true bipartisan effort, and we would like to thank the following Champions for making increased investment in the young children of our state a reality this year: 
  • Governor John Bel Edwards
  • Representatives Neil Abramson, Steve Carter, Cameron Henry, Stephanie Hilferty, Joe Marino, and Walt Leger III
  • Senators Conrad Appel, Eric LaFleur, Danny Martiny, Beth Mizell, and JP Morrell.  

Here are the details:

NEW funding for Early Care and Education in House Bill 105 , the State Budget: $15.2 million
  • New state funding for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) for children birth through age 3:
  • $2.3 million to raise the rates for the current 15,000 seats (as Louisiana is under corrective action by the federal government to do so).
  • $8.9 million for CCAP slots at the new rate, which will fund an additional 1,450 children on the CCAP waitlist.  
  • This leaves 4,050 children remaining who are on the waitlist or authorized and unfunded for CCAP. 
  • CCAP provides subsidies to parents who are working or in school so that they can access quality, reliable care for their young children.  
  • Total new funding for CCAP: $11.2 million
  • New state funding to sustain the current level of the Pre-K Program for 4 year olds:  
  • $4 million for Pre-K for 4 year olds to fund 800 Pre-K seats, to replace a federal grant that is ending this school year. 
  • There has also been referenced an additional $4.8 million. These are existing funds for early care and education that the Department of Education will use to cover the remaining Pre-K slots for 4 year olds that were funded by the federal grant. 

NEW funding for Early Care and Education in House Bill 544 , the Land Based Casino Contract: $3.6 million
  • $3.6 million will go to the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Trust Fund if the casino revenues are greater than $60 million (which they have been for every year for the last 10 years except one, in 2017).
  • This bill renews the contract of the land-based casino in New Orleans. 

Other Future Funding for Early Care and Education: CBD Products in House Bill 560
  • House Bill 560 by Representative Neil Abramson provides for a 3% excise tax on each retail sale of industrial hemp-derived CBD products within the state of Louisiana to go to the Early Childhood Education Trust Fund.  
  • The fiscal note on the bill states that data that could provide a reliable estimate of the expected sale price and volume of these products is unavailable. However, this will provide further dedicated funds early education.  

These appropriations are a very important first step in securing the level of support Louisiana families need to be able to access high quality early care and education for our youngest citizens. However, a sizable gap remains. Even with an additional 1,450 children served, 4,050 children remain on the CCAP waitlist or are authorized but unfunded, and the new money falls far short of the $86 million needed annually as projected by the state ECE Commission report for birth to 3-year-old’s alone.

We are grateful to Governor John Bel Edwards and our legislators of both parties for finding new dollars to start closing the LA B to 3 gap. We look forward to Louisiana closing this funding shortfall for our families in the near future because a stronger Louisiana starts with successful children. 

Other Legislation of Interest

House Bill 395 by Representative Steve Carter passed both Houses.
  • This bill refines the provisions of the Early Childhood Education Trust Fund, clarifying the local match amounts (1:1 local to state), how the money will be used if the locals have matching funds (for projects that will expand the number of early ed quality slots for families who are eligible for CCAP), the eligibility requirements for the local funds, and, finally, how any funds remaining after the local matching is done can be used (for quality slots for children birth through age two).  

In the end, neither the sports betting bills nor the fantasy sports bills passed.
  • Both bills proposed to add portions of their tax revenues to the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Trust Fund. These efforts will no doubt be revived in future sessions.
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.