Sorry it took so long. While I was in Santa Fe I met with LFC analyst, Linda siegel and CYFD. The LFC analyst walked me through the different sources that fund cyfd the majority of this money is federal money. She said that things were going to be hard for the rest of this year but that next year would be even worse because we are facing a 28 million dollar shortfall. After talking with Linda Siegel and CYFD, we are going to have a really hard time coming up with that amount of money in such a short time period. As advacates we are going to have to work really hard during this years legislative seesion to try and open some doors. I am still afraid that there will be more cuts made until we can secure a permant funding source. Ray and I are meeting tomorrow to decide what exactly we are doing on November 13, 2010. The direction that we need to go depends on who our next Governor is. If you have any questions please let me know. I will let you know about the 13th as soon as I know.
The Southern NM Advocacy Alliance meeting on Oct. 15 included several people who had not been to previous meetings, but who were involved in the Oct. 7 rally - Early Childhood Awareness Day. While the primary concern centered on the need to fund early childhood programs in the state, there is also a desire to educate the public and elected officials about the importance of early care and education, support existing programs, and build community so that the current crisis is not repeated.
Ray Jaramillo and Kim Grider shared information from a conference call with members of the NMCCEA. During this conversation and email exchanges, several suggestions for increasing funding were discussed. Ideas included closing TTAPs, increasing co-pays for parents, redirecting some money (Kinder Plus, money from programs that get both state & federal PreK money, lottery scholarship), and generating new money for early childhood ( oil & gas, tobacco tax, big box business tax loop hole). There was also some discussion during the meeting about the permanent fund. Ways to maintain quality while cutting costs (ie. ratios during nap time) was also considered as a possibility. Caution was given about attempting to redirect money in that we don't want to pit early childhood against public education or other groups. The importance of working cooperatively to help others see early childhood as part of the education continuum was emphasized. New taxes will be a hard sell in the current economic climate with new legislators. The permanent fund is seen as being very difficult in that it will need to be put on the ballot to make any changes. There is a meeting in Santa Fe on Oct. 25 to discuss regulation changes. Potential conflict between accreditation and state regulations should be considered so that quality care is maintained.
The group voiced the need for members of the early childhood community to set aside their differences and speak with one voice to our legislators and to unite quickly. It seems that the LFC was surprised that the proposed cuts in subsidy payments were not unanimously supported. Those who have been politically active in the past, educated the group about the importance of getting to know the legislators' staff and make long term connections with them. The need to have a mediated discussion with AFT, NMAEYC, NMCCEA, the organization representing home care providers, and other organizations who lobby on behalf of early care and education was recognized. It is important for all of these groups to be on the same page as we lobby the legislators AND to disseminate the information to ALL early child care professionals.
In addition to the 3 events identified at the last meeting for distributing information and educating the public, two additional events were added to the calendar. Las Cruces early childhood personnel will use the following forms to further educate community members and legislators about the importance of the early years and the role of the state and the community in supporting early care programs.
Sensor Kids Training Event - Oct. 23
Building Blocks Conference - Nov. 6
Early Childhood Forum - Nov. 13 - details yet to be determined
Legislator luncheon - late Nov. early Dec. - small groups hosted by Nadine Handy
Provider Appreciation Luncheon - Dec. 4 Oct. 7
About 300 people gathered Thursday morning for Early Childhood Awareness Day at Apodaca Park in Las Cruces, including parents, children, early childhood teachers, program directors and others. Some early childhood programs closed in Las Cruces for the day to underline how important quality early care and education is.