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Commonwealth's Counties

Governor’s Introduced Budget May Impact State Funding for the Virginia Preschool Initiative for Certain Localities

Governor Youngkin’s introduced budget makes several changes to how the state shares the costs of slots in the Virginia Preschool Infinitive (VPI). One such change eliminates the current cap of 0.5 on the Composite Index of Local Ability to Pay (LCI) for these programs. This has the potential to negatively alter existing funding for 27 localities.

VPI distributes state funds to schools and community-based organizations to provide quality preschool programs for at-risk four-year-olds unserved by the federal Head Start program. The purpose of the grant is to reduce disparities among young children upon formal school entry and to reduce or eliminate those risk factors that lead to early academic failure. This program has a local match for funding. Like most K-12 state funding, the local match is determined by each locality’s LCI. More information on the LCI can be accessed here.

The following counties and cities have LCIs that are higher than the current cap of 0.5:

  • ALBEMARLE
  • ARLINGTON
  • BATH
  • CHARLES CITY
  • CLARKE
  • FAIRFAX COUNTY
  • FAUQUIER
  • GOOCHLAND
  • HIGHLAND
  • JAMES CITY
  • LANCASTER
  • LOUDOUN
  • LOUISA
  • MATHEWS
  • MIDDLESEX
  • NELSON
  • NORTHUMBERLAND
  • POWHATAN
  • RAPPAHANNOCK
  • SURRY
  • ALEXANDRIA
  • CHARLOTTESVILLE
  • FALLS CHURCH
  • FREDERICKSBURG
  • RICHMOND CITY
  • WILLIAMSBURG
  • FAIRFAX CITY

If this proposal is enacted, the state share of funding for VPI programs in these localities will be reduced by $11.6 million in FY 25 and $11.7 million in FY 26. These localities would then either have to replace this funding with local funding or reduce the number of children participating in VPI.

This is part of a larger proposal which directs $174 million from the general fund in FY 2025 and $237.8 million from the general fund in FY 2026 to support the Child Care Subsidy Program, of which $1 million in FY 2025 is to be used to establish and administer early learning and child care accounts hosted on a digital wallet platform. Of this funding, approximately $53 million in FY 2025 and $53.7 million in FY 2026 reflect dollars redirected from the Virginia Preschool Initiative and Early Childhood Expansion programs as a result of projected nonparticipation and eliminating the current cap on the Local Composite Index for these programs.

VACo is supportive of the larger efforts to support early childhood care and education. Dedicating new General Funds or reinvesting funds from unused slots in VPI back into the early childhood care and education field is one matter. However, VACo has concerns about any specific proposals that divert existing state or local funds away from local public schools.

“The standard Superintendent’s memo detailing the impacts of the Governor’s introduced budget on K-12 funding for individual school divisions will be posted here once it becomes available.”

VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett

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