Early this morning, the Joint Finance Committee passed a revised version of funding for ECE programs. Although parts of the motion are unclear, there are some obvious changes being made. To view the governor’s original proposed budget, visit an earlier blog entry here.
• The Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program: The new motion allocates $386,112,600 in fiscal year 2010 and $401,996,800 in fiscal year 2011.
• Shares cost containment measures: The new motion eliminates increases in copayments and a potential waiting list. The motion also: freezes reimbursement rates for providers until June 30, 2011; includes child support payments when determining eligibility only if the amount of child support is more than $1,250 per month; and implements a measure that would adjust the number of hours authorized for child care, rather than basing provider reimbursements on attendance.
• Quality Rating System: The new motion eliminates funding for the QRS but does not eliminate the provision.
• Quality programs: The new motion reduces funding by $944,800 in 2009-10 and $1,653,700 in 2010-11 for child care quality programs overall. It does not mention funding levels for any specific programs (like T.E.A.C.H. or R.E.W.A.R.D.) other than for Resource and Referral Agencies. This reduction in quality program funding DOES NOT necessarily mean that T.E.A.C.H. or R.E.W.A.R.D. will have reduced funding. At this time, we do not know if funding will be decreased, increased, or remain the same.
• Licensing fees: The new motion keeps the Governor’s recommended increase in licensing fees from $10.33 per child to $16.94 per child (for group centers that provide care for nine or more children).
We will update the blog when we know more specifics on the motion passed by the Joint Finance Committee. You can read the entire motion here.