Letter: Help Smart Start, make the calls

May. 25, 2013 @ 06:40 AM

To the editor:

Last Sunday the Senate released its proposed budget. The budget contains several items that impact Smart Start, the most significant being a more than 40 percent cut by moving all of subsidy out of Smart Start and into the Department of Social Services.

This budget will also move money intended to improve childcare quality to fund 14 state positions.

A cut of this magnitude means that some communities may lose their local Smart Start partnership. Unlike Smart Start, which utilizes its subsidy money for higher quality childcare slots, the Department of Social Services will utilize this money to cover as many children as possible, using the less expensive options. In creating Smart Start, this investment in subsidy was designed to serve a purpose — improve the quality of our state’s early care and learning programs and then help them stay high quality. This purpose is just as critical today, particularly with everything we know about brain science. Childcare subsidy is about more than workforce support; it is about children attending high quality programs that prepare them for success in school. Quality early care and education is the work of Smart Start, not the Department of Social Services.

Our children need your help. This is the Senate budget proposal. The Senate will not be taking any amendments, so it is important that we contact House members to explain the impact of the Senate’s proposals and call on them to keep Smart Start intact.

Contact your House representative and ask them to keep Smart Start intact.

• Vance County: Rep. Nathan Baskerville, (919) 733-5824 or Nathan.Baskerville@ncleg.net.

• Franklin County: Rep. Jeff Collins, (919) 733-5802 or Jeff.Collins@ncleg.net; Rep. Bobbie Richardson, (919) 715-3032 or Bobbie.Richardson@ncleg.net.

• Granville County: Rep. W.A. Wilkins, (919) 715-0850 or Winkie.Wilkins@ncleg.net.; and Rep. Nathan Baskerville, (919) 733-5824 or Nathan.Baskerville@ncleg.net.

Garry Daeke