Funding for Florida VPK holding steady - WNCN: News, Weather

Funding for Florida VPK holding steady

Posted: Updated:
Bailey Richardson, student at Smart Start Pre-Prep. Bailey Richardson, student at Smart Start Pre-Prep.
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Bailey Richardson's biggest concern is which color marker to use for her drawing. She's in voluntary pre-kindergarten at Smart Start Pre-Prep off Race Track Road in Hillsborough County. The woman who runs the center, Pamela Mace, has a lot more on her mind than Richardson.

"A lot of this has been digging into my own pocket," Mace, who's been with the center since 1993, said. "The kids come first, then teachers, then the rest of it."

A Rutgers University report puts Florida 35th out of 39 states for funding Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Programs. That same report states that in Florida, funding levels have "fallen so low as to bring into question the effectiveness of their programs by any reasonable standard."

State funding per student per year in Hillsborough County follows the downturn pattern. 

2010 - $2,672

2011 - $2,500

2012 - $2,281

Dave McGerald, CEO of the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County, says he has a solution, but that it might be "unpopular."

"Other states are focusing their dollars on children at risk," McGerald said. "They're not saying 'we have a program for every child.' It is good for every child but we can't afford it. It makes no sense to keep pouring these dollars in if its not a quality program."

Mace says she gets about $12.76 per student per day from the state. That number used to be around $15 or $16. 

"My teachers that have their Bachelor's are working for $12.50 an hour," Mace said. "The state wants us to put BAs in the classrooms but where's the money?"

VPK Providers can breath a little easier because according to the Florida Office of Early Learning, state funding will stay the same the next few years and not continue going down. 

Shan Goff, the Executive Director, sent us a statement, saying, "While clearly important, funding alone does not equate to quality or effectiveness," Goff wrote. "Florida's commitment to free pre kindergarten for 4-year-old children places us first in the nation for access."

Mace keeps her positive outlook but says even if the funding doesn't go down, it's still not enough.

"We're picking up the pieces," Mace said. "It's the children that are suffering the most because they don't understand."  

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Reports: FBI probes JPMorgan hack

    Reports: FBI probes JPMorgan hack

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 9:19 PM EDT2014-08-28 01:19:51 GMT
    Reports: FBI probes JPMorgan hackReports: FBI probes JPMorgan hack
    The FBI is investigating a hacking attack on JPMorgan Chase and at least one other bank, according to reports citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
    The FBI is investigating a hacking attack on JPMorgan Chase and at least one other bank, according to reports citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
  • Bay area home security customers continue to complain they were mislead

    Bay area home security customers continue to complain they were mislead

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 6:54 PM EDT2014-08-27 22:54:28 GMT
    Bay area homeowners continue to complain of door-to-door salesman from Vision Security.
    Bay area homeowners continue to complain of door-to-door salesman from Vision Security.
  • Pinellas front desk school staff trained to handle medical needs at some schools

    Pinellas front desk school staff trained to handle medical needs at some schools

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-08-26 21:15:59 GMT
    Penny Perez, of St. Petersburg, worries every time she sends her 11-year-old son, Keith, to school. Keith has a rare condition called Williams Syndrome. He is developmentally delayed, and if his blood pressure is too high for an extended period of time, his heart could stop.
    Penny Perez, of St. Petersburg, worries every time she sends her 11-year-old son, Keith, to school. Keith has a rare condition called Williams Syndrome. He is developmentally delayed, and if his blood pressure is too high for an extended period of time, his heart could stop.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Dad acquitted in slaying of driver who killed sons

    Dad acquitted in slaying of driver who killed sons

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 4:05 PM EDT2014-08-27 20:05:37 GMT
    Barajas with sons (NBC)Barajas with sons (NBC)
    A jury on Wednesday acquitted a southeast Texas man of murder in the fatal shooting of a drunken driver who had just caused an accident that killed the man's two sons.
    A jury on Wednesday acquitted a southeast Texas man of murder in the fatal shooting of a drunken driver who had just caused an accident that killed the man's two sons.
  • Trial over drunken driver's murder splitting Texas town

    Trial over drunken driver's murder splitting Texas town

    Monday, August 25 2014 4:26 PM EDT2014-08-25 20:26:45 GMT
    The attorney for a Texas father accused of fatally shooting a drunken driver who caused an accident that killed his two sons argued with investigators Monday that none of the evidence they have presented at trial directly links his client to the murder.
    The attorney for a Texas father accused of fatally shooting a drunken driver who caused an accident that killed his two sons argued with investigators Monday that none of the evidence they have presented at trial directly links his client to the murder.
  • Tanker overturns on I-75, spills gas, closes lanes for hours

    Tanker overturns on I-75, spills gas, closes lanes for hours

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 8:15 PM EDT2014-08-28 00:15:59 GMT
    Northbound lanes on Interstate 75 between Bee Ridge Road and Fruitville Road closed Wednesday morning after an accident involving a tanker. Two lanes have re-opened as of 4:30 p.m.
    Northbound lanes on Interstate 75 between Bee Ridge Road and Fruitville Road closed Wednesday morning after an accident involving a tanker. Two lanes have re-opened as of 4:30 p.m.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.