As reported by the Gazette.net, Montgomery County is looking at ways to fund the increasing needs of its early childhood programs.
Janine Bacquie — director of Montgomery County Public Schools’ Division of Early Childhood Programs and Services and co-chair of the Montgomery County Early Childhood Advisory Council — said the county needs additional, sustainable funds immediately to not only ensure there is enough space in public and private child care and education programs but that the programs are also high quality.
“The numbers and the needs are significantly increasing,” Bacquie said. “We need to scale up significantly.”
Superintendent Joshua P. Starr recently said that since 2007, the county school system has grown by 14,000 students; another 11,000 are expected over the next six years.
The Advisory Council is looking at as businesses, philanthropic sources and social impact bonds. At a recent meeting with the County Council, the focus was the State’s funding involvement. As reported,
Montgomery received about $145,000 from the state’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant program, the focus of a Nov. 7 meeting with members of the County Council and county school board and state education officials.
Some county council members raised concerns that the county did not receive more grant money.
The state education officials said, however, that the grant funds were designated to help counties develop their early learning infrastructure, much of which Montgomery already has.
Elizabeth Kelley — director of the office of child care in the state education department’s division of early childhood development — said there are a lot of unanswered questions when it comes to future funding for the county’s early learning systems after the grant program ends.