Education

New Orleans property tax for early childhood education planned for April 30 ballot – NOLA.com

Summary

The New Orleans City Council is preparing to ask voters to increase property taxes for early childhood education, a plan aimed at closing persistent learning gaps between children who are enrolled in quality day care programs and those who are not.

Council member Helena Moreno said Tuesday that the council plans to file a notice of intent this week to begin the process of placing a 5-mill tax on the April 30 ballot. The revenue would subsidize low-income…….

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The New Orleans City Council is preparing to ask voters to increase property taxes for early childhood education, a plan aimed at closing persistent learning gaps between children who are enrolled in quality day care programs and those who are not.

Council member Helena Moreno said Tuesday that the council plans to file a notice of intent this week to begin the process of placing a 5-mill tax on the April 30 ballot. The revenue would subsidize low-income families who need help paying for day care.

City Hall spends about $3 million a year to send children to subsidized day care, a number that has increased substantially over the past four years. The money helps at least 150 students but falls well short of helping the thousands of children who advocates say need better access to early childhood education.

Based on current property assessments, the tax, if approved, would add about $21 million to the New Orleans Early Education Network City Seats Program. Earlier cost estimates of the program suggest that the tax could mean day care subsidies for more than 1,000 children.

The Jefferson Parish Council has kicked in funding to put 16 low-income children into top-tier early childhood education programs next school …

“We want to eliminate the financial barriers to early childhood education, and this millage is a strong step in that direction,” said Moreno, the council’s president.

Advocates say more than 6,500 New Orleans children, largely from low-income families, are priced out of quality day care programs. The average cost for a 2-year-old’s care in New Orleans is about $660 a month, according to a recent Louisiana state survey. That’s $84 higher than the state average and almost $200 higher than what one long-running state subsidy program, the Child Care Assistance Program for Families, is willing to pay.

In making the case for the tax, the council is relying on research that shows that children who are enrolled in quality day care programs fare better in elementary and secondary education than those who are not. Such children are more likely to graduate high school and less likely to be held back a grade, experts contend.



At Wilcox Academy of Early Learning in New Orleans’ 7th Ward, teacher Shelley Collen photographs Akhai Phoenix as the prekindergarten changes a sign from red to green on Nov. 7, 2013.




New Orleans started local funding for early childhood education in 2018, when Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration included $750,000 in the budget at the urging of council members. That allowed for 50 students to attend day care programs. …….

Source: https://www.nola.com/news/politics/article_896b19ca-4706-11ec-a098-6f4df3733219.html