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Ohio delays preschool funding change until next school year

Published: September 9, 2016 11:11 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A plan aimed at stopping Ohio’s publicly funded preschools from getting overlapping payments from multiple sources for services will be delayed until next school year.

Some lawmakers raised concerns that the change in how Ohio funds preschool would cut services for some of the state’s poorest children, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

A spokesman for the state Department of Job and Family Services confirmed Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sik) agreed to a one-year delay.

The policy change was aimed at stopping overlapping payments from the state and the federal Head Start program, a process known as “layering.” It was expected to save $12 million annually and take effect this school year. State officials said the money saved would be reinvested in the state’s child care system.

Republican Sen. Peggy Lehner, of Kettering, was among 22 of Ohio’s 33 state senators who signed a letter urging Kasich to reconsider. She said the plan wasn’t realistic and postponing it allows more time to review the policy.

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“We are concerned that ODJFS did not have adequate data to inform their decision and underestimated the impact this rule will have,” the senators wrote to Kasich.

They said the change would eliminate more than 300 Head Start slots in Dayton and cut $2 million to Cleveland-area preschool providers.

Lehner said most states allow layering of state and federal dollars to raise the quality of preschool programs offered to low-income children while about 10 states ban the practice.

Head Start serves about 37,000 children in Ohio. More than 115,000 children are enrolled in the state’s publicly funded care.


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