Happenings

Child care ‘cliff effect’ jeopardizes working New Mexico parents as incomes rise

Friday, December 29, 2017

(Las Cruces Sun-News) - A couple of years ago a mother came to Ray Jaramillo, director of a childcare center in Las Cruces. She worked for minimum wage at Burger King, but was offered a supervisory position with better hours and a wage bump to over $9 an hour. She worried the extra money could cause her to lose childcare assistance for her two little girls. 

Read More


Colorado Springs startup acquired by Oregon child care software company

Friday, December 29, 2017

(Gazette Telegraph) - KidReports LLC, a Colorado Springs-based startup that sells software for parents to track their children in child care, has been acquired by Procare Software LLC, a Medford, Ore.-based manufacturer of software for child care center management.

The deal, completed earlier this week, will allow KidReports to expand from six employees to 10-12 employees by the end of next year and eventually move from Epicentral Coworking to a yet-to-be-determined downtown location, said Greg Krupa, KidReports' cofounder and chief operating officer. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but KidReports will remain in Colorado Springs and Procare will retain existing employees and management, including founders Krupa and Leif Ullman, who is the company's CEO.

Procare had begun developing its own software for child care center customers but began exploring acquisitions or partnership with companies who already sell such software after JoAnn Kintzel joined the company as CEO in October 2016 and approached Ullman and Krupa about buying KidReports, Kintzel said. Read More Here

 

Read More


Child care subsidies capped in El Paso County, wait list coming

Thursday, December 28, 2017

(Colo. Spgs. Gazette) - December 27, 2017 Updated: Today at 10:30 am

A wait list will be implemented New Year's Day for a popular program offering child care subsidies to low-income and impoverished families.

Enrollment in the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program will be capped in El Paso County amid an estimated $2.25 million budget shortage, the county's Department of Human Services announced Wednesday.

The move stoked fears among child care providers and the county's head of social services that working parents will be forced to quit their jobs or enroll children in low-quality or unlicensed facilities.

"If you don't have child care, you can't work - really, those two things go hand in hand," said Diane Price, CEO of Early Connections Learning Centers. Two-thirds of the 350 children at her centers receive subsidies from the program.

The move comes amid stagnating funding here for a program that has become increasingly burdened by rising child care costs and the county's growing population, said Julie Krow, the El Paso County Department of Human Services' executive director.

The county needs an estimated $2.25 million through June 30 to avoid wait-listing new enrollees, Krow said. She framed it as a statewide issue, saying about a dozen other counties also have implemented such wait lists.

"We just don't have anywhere else we can take this money from anymore," Krow said. "What the state really should do, ideally, is fully fund the need. Because CCAP is really a self-sufficiency program."

The program here is generally open to families whose gross income is no more than 165 percent of the federal poverty level - meaning $2,233 a month for a family of two or $3,383 a month for a family of four. It helps pay for the child care of 3,249 children across the county, with enrolled families expected to contribute a copay.

Benefits for those families will not change on New Year's Day, Krow said.

But about 60 new families apply for the program every month, and they'll soon have to wait until a child currently in the program leaves.

In addition, families who do not re-enroll during the final 45 days of their 12-month term will be placed back on the wait-list, said Kristina Iodice, a county spokeswoman.

The announcement represents a double-whammy for low-income families seeking child care.

In March, El Paso County officials decided to bar parents who were searching for work or in school from accessing the program. About 200 such enrollees were on the program at that time, and they were allowed to stay on for the remainder of their 12-month enrollment, Iodice said. The county did not provide a budget estimate for what it would take to restore those benefits.

Funding for the program - which comes from federal, state and county coffers - has grown steadily in recent years, topping out at $13.7 million for the previous fiscal year ending June 30, a county spokeswoman said. But it decreased by $50,000 for the current fiscal year, she said.

Krow said a possible supplemental budget request to the state's Joint Budget Committee could, if approved, eliminate the need for a wait list. But such a request has yet to be made.

Krow urged families not to avoid applying, thinking they may never get in. "Families who are interested in seeking help through CCAP should continue to apply," Krow said. "Because if we don't have a wait list, then we won't have any way to continue to estimate the need."

 

Read More


Pressure is building to avert property tax cuts by amending the Colorado Constitution. But it’ll be a hard sell.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

(Denver Post) - Behind the scenes, pressure is building from a growing coalition of rural officials, advocacy groups and businesses to ask voters to amend the state constitution, possibly as soon as next year. 

Read More


Top Education Stories of 2017: Education Week’s Most Viewed

Friday, December 22, 2017

(Education Week) - To provide a sense of what was high on our readers' priority lists in 2017, the editors at Education Week compiled a list of our 10 most-viewed news articles and blog posts.

1. Which States Pay Teachers the Most (and Least)?

A study reveals the wide range of teacher salaries from state to state. (Feb. 10, 2017) | From the Blog: Teacher Beat

2. New Report Names the Best Cities to Live in if You're a Teacher

U.S. cities were ranked by factors like job availability and comparative salary to determine the best locations for K-12 teachers in 2017. (May 26, 2017) | From the Blog: Teaching Now

3. Unanimous Supreme Court Expands Scope of Special Education Rights

The justices ruled that schools must do more than provide a "merely more than de minimis" education program to a student with a disability. (March 22, 2017) | From the Blog: The School Law Blog

4. Scrambling to Fill Out ESSA's Policy Details

Quality Counts 2017 examined what states and districts are doing to get ready for the Every Student Succeeds Act's implementation, and offered state-by-state grades for the nation's schools on a range of educational measures. (Jan. 4, 2017) | Part of an Annual Report: Quality Counts 2017: Report and Rankings

5. Teachers Go Public With Their Resignation Letters

A study calls teachers' online grievances against the profession a form of social action. (April 14, 2017) | From the Blog: Teacher Beat

6. Educators Are More Stressed at Work Than Average People, Survey Finds

A survey by the American Federation of Teachers and the Badass Teachers Association found that teachers are reporting high stress levels and experiencing bad mental health days. (Oct. 30, 2017) | From the Blog: Teaching Now

7. Happy Teachers Practice Self-Care

Experts say that teachers must develop their own social-emotional competencies, including the ability to manage stress, before they can effectively model these skills to students. (June 7, 2017) | Part of a Special Report: Social-Emotional Learning: It Starts With Teachers

8. 'The Magic School Bus' Will Return to Teach New Generations About STEM

Netflix will reboot the beloved '90s educational cartoon, "The Magic School Bus," starring eccentric science teacher Ms. Frizzle and her eager students as they embark on out-of-this world field trips. (Jan. 5, 2017) | From the Blog: Teaching Now

9. Trump Education Dept. Releases New ESSA Guidelines

The biggest difference between the new Trump application and the Obama application seems to be on the requirements for outreach to various groups of educators and advocates. (March 13, 2017) | From the Blog: Politics K-12

10. Here's Why Betsy DeVos Will Likely Be Confirmed, Despite Pushback

Moderate senators appear likely to support DeVos, meaning she will almost certainly be confirmed. But Democrats are already fundraising off of the controversy surrounding her nomination. (Jan. 30, 2017) | From the Blog: Politics K-12

 

Read More


Colorado Gets New Director at the Office of Children, Youth and Families

Friday, December 22, 2017

(Cornicle for Social Change) - Late last month, Minna Castillo Cohen took the helm as director of Colorado’s Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF), an agency that oversees child welfare, youth services and domestic violence for the state. 

Read More


State officials panicked over children’s health program

Thursday, December 21, 2017

(Politico) - Families are becoming increasingly panicked about children losing health insurance without new funding from Congress, state officials warned Wednesday as a new report showed nearly2 million kids could be dropped from coverage next month. 

Read More


Four Things for Educators to Know About the Tax Bill Congress Just Passed

Thursday, December 21, 2017

(Education Week) - Congress just passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a major overhaul for the federal tax code. It took a second House vote on Wednesday to finally get it done, and the holdup was related to education. (More on that below.) And President Donald Trump is about to sign it. So what does it mean for education? Here's a short list.

1) School funding in states and districts might get shaken up

That's because the tax bill changes how deductions for state and local tax work. In short, it imposes a new, $10,000 cap on those deductions—taxpayers can choose to deduct that amount in either property or sales taxes they pay, or property and income taxes.

Supporters of such a move argue it will rein in improperly high state and local tax rates. But by the same token, critics charge decreasing these federal deductions could ultimately lead to stagnant or reduced state and local funding for K-12. Click here to read more about the potential impact of this change on schools.

2) The teacher tax-deduction rollercoaster ended where it started

The initial tax reform bill, introduced by the House, would have eliminated the $250 deduction educators can currently take for spending their own money on classroom supplies. Teachers and principals cried foul. They argued that it was an unfair benefit to take away, even though it wasn't a particularly big one in the grand scheme of things. The deduction will cost an estimated $210 million in federal revenue in 2017. The Senate's version of the tax bill, however, doubled that deduction to $500.

So how did it end? The final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act keeps this deduction at $250.

3) Saving for private school choice just got easier—at least for some

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act creates a new wrinkle for 529 college savings plans, which are tax advantaged. The bill would allow parents to use them for K-12 expenses, including private school choice, as well as postsecondary costs. The bill puts a $10,000 cap on the money people can set aside for K-12 in these plans.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and others have applauded the move, although DeVos said Tuesday the move has limitations. But others argue it will mainly help wealthier parents who can afford to set money aside, and those already sending their children to private schools.

In a last-minute twist, the Senate parliamentarian on Tuesday ruled that the slice of this provision that allowed 529 plan dollars to be spent on home schooling violated the chamber's rule. The Senate and then the House voted to approve the bill without this provision covering home schooling costs.

4) There are new rules for school debt and construction

The final bill headed to Trump would end what are known as qualified school construction bonds and Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, which are tax-advantaged tools that can help reduce total capital costs for schools—the latter are particularly important to charter schools. However, charter advocates have praised the bill for preserving Private Activity Bonds, which provide special finacing for certain projects.

Also, the bill would end advance refunding bonds, which are used to pay down long-term debt at reduced costs. K-12 business officials say getting rid of these would rob them of a helpful fiscal tool.

 

Read More


National Survey of Early Care and Education 2019: The Provider and Workforce Study, 2017 – 2022 – Overview

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

  

Read More


Education Commission of The States Year-End Reports Published

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

(Education Commission of the States) – An interactive PDF sharing top policy reports, state-by-state comparisons, and blog posts from 2017.

2017 highlights from Education Commission of the States

 

 

Read More


1 2 3 4 Next