COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Virginia Department of Education (DOE) Pre-School Pilot Initiative for FY2008
Approval of funds for local match for Virginia Pre-School Pilot Initiative
Messrs, Tucker, Elliott, Davis; Ms. Ralston
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
June 13, 2007
ACTION: x INFORMATION:
ACTION: x INFORMATION:
The Governor’s Start Strong Council is proposing to expand access to high quality pre-school for Virginia’s four-year-olds. With a $2.6 million allocation from the General Assembly, the Council is establishing one-year pilot programs in several communities for FY 2008. To be eligible, pilot communities were required to provide a written Scope of Services, budget form, and budget narrative by May 31, 2007. The Department of Social Services and the School Division worked together to develop the required documentation and submitted it by the deadline date, with the caveat that $32,000 in required local matching funds were still being pursued. Albemarle County was determined eligible for one of the eleven pilots, and has been selected as a pilot pending our ability to obtain the required local match for funding. The department was notified of the pilot in March, after the local budget process, and has been pursuing private funding for the match, but without success. If the County provides the required $32,000 local match, the County will receive $80,312 in state grant funds to run its one-year pilot program in this community.
· Goal 1 (“Enhance the Quality of Life”), Objective 1 of the County Strategic Plan for FY07-10 -- “The Board of Supervisors and general government employees will increase collaborative efforts with the School Board and with employees of the school system to assist the school division to achieve recognition as a ‘world class education system.’” A key strategy in this regard is to “maintain and increase level of current collaborative efforts underway.”
· Goal 2 of the Department of Social Services’ Strategic Plan for 2007-2009 -- which calls on Social Services to “develop and implement prevention and early intervention strategies focused on the 0 through middle-school aged population.” A key strategy is to “expand to scope and scale current educational prevention strategies to ensure that all children needing such services receive them,” as well as to “research best practices to ensure that the strategies employed have an impact on academic achievement and overall child well-being.”
The Albemarle County Public Schools and the Department of Social Services have a long history of effective collaboration in providing pre-school services to four-year-olds in the Bright Stars program. Currently seven Bright Stars classrooms serve 112 County children in six county elementary schools. The Governor’s Pre-school pilot programs give eligible localities the opportunity to further expand their programs and the number of children served. Locally, staff is proposing adding another pre-school classroom at Cale Elementary, which would serve a total of 16 additional children: eight traditional at-risk children and eight tuition-paying children. This “mixed” classroom will represent innovative strategies both in identifying a new revenue stream and in group interaction and educational strategies. In addition, staff plans to serve several additional children by placing them in a local private or non-profit pre-school environment (specifically, the Bright Beginnings Pre-School Program). (See Attachment A: Scope of Services).
This expansion of the Bright Stars program would be funded by a combination of pilot grant funds, Virginia Pre-school Initiative (VPI) funds, local matching funds and in-kind contributions from the schools. This grant opportunity did not come to the attention of the Board of Supervisors during the County budget process because staff was waiting for definitive word regarding eligibility and state funding. The major obstacle at this time is sufficient funds to meet local match requirements.
The Department of Social Services proposes using surplus savings of $32,000 from its FY 2007 budget as the required local match for its FY 08 proposal. In response, the County would receive a state grant of $80,312. Together, a combination of grant funds, VPI funds, private funds, and (if approved) local government funds would be used to hire the new personnel required for this project, including a classroom teacher, teacher’s aide, and Bright Stars Family Coordinator (social worker). The project would generate additional revenues to serve more at-risk children by developing a private-public partnership. (See Attachment C: Budget; and Attachment C: Budget Narrative.) Continuation of this pilot program after the first year will be dependent on additional appropriations from the General Assembly. It is unknown at this time whether the Governor and General Assembly will propose and approve additional funds for continuing or expanding the pre-school pilot programs beyond FY2008.
Staff recommends that the Board authorize the allocation of $32,000 in surplus General Funds resulting from savings in the Department of Social Services’ FY 2007 budget to provide the necessary local matching funds required to participate in the FY08 Virginia Department of Education Pre-School Pilot Initiative. If approved, the Board will be asked to appropriate the funds for program expenditures in FY 2008.
A – Scope of Services
B – Budget Narrative
C - Budget
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