Georgia Pre K Programs

Georgia Pre-K: A Window of Opportunity

Georgia has stood as a national leader in the development of Pre-K and early learning programs for nearly two decades. In 1995, it became the first state to offer a universal preschool program for 4-year-olds, focused on improving school readiness and funded by the Georgia Lottery. Today, as Georgia’s enrollment growth outpaces lottery revenue generation, the state struggles to sustain the program’s esteemed standards while also trying to meet student demand.

The outcome has been significant reductions in overall lottery education funding, in operating funds for providers, and in teacher salaries. Additionally, these recent budget cuts highlight the fact that over the past 16 years, the state investment in its 4-year-olds has declined. While no one wants quality to suffer, schools cannot be expected to deliver the same results with fewer resources each year.

Georgia must make Pre-K funding a higher priority or we risk the future of our children and the economic prosperity of our state.


Why is Pre K Important

  • Ninety percent of brain development occurs by age 5
  • Georgia Pre K ensures children will be more prepared for kindergarten and quality Pre K has shown to increase standardized test scores and graduation rates
  • The economic impact of investing $1 in early education saves $6 down the road by reducing the need for remedial and special education, welfare and criminal justice services
  • Early investment yields additional long-term ROI in terms of workforce productivity and leading to a better economic outcome for the future of Georgia

How the GCCA Has Recently Helped Georgia Pre K Programs

GCCA has been asking DECAL and the Office of Planning and Budget to consider revising the funding formula for the Georgia Pre-K program.  It is not surprise to any provider that current reimbursement rates are now lower than they were back in 1996.

Gratefully, Commissioner Amy Jacobs has convened an Early Education Subcommittee to work on program/funding changes.  GCCA has been very active on this subcommittee which has been meeting throughout 2015.  

Proposed funding improvements were recommended to the Education Task Force in May.  As these become solidified, we will post updates.  The recommendations include additional funding for assistant teachers, supplies and operational cost as well as a roster size reduction back to 20.  GCCA has also been working with DECAL to consider a funding adjustment to roster fluctuations to allow providers a variance without financial penalty when a roster temporarily falls below 22.

We are very thankful for the Governor for his consideration of these very needed and positive changes.    Once approved, these changes should take effect for the 2016/2017 school year.

Department of Labor, Unemployment Benefits for Pre K Teachers

Gcca met with Mark Butler, Commissioner of Department of Labor to discuss the practice of granting Pre K teachers unemployment during holidays and summer vacations although teachers were returning in the fall and had received an annual salary, distributed over 10 months. We asked for parity with public school teachers who were ineligible as this practice drives up program’s total payroll cost, taking needed resources from the children they serve and for their employees.

Effective 2012, DOL passed a rule making Pre K teachers ineligible for benefits during these times. The GCCA fully supports Pre K teachers and the work that they do. This clarification of ruling was promulgated due to the undue burden these claims have on YOUR business.

Due to an overturning of Georgia DOL law by the federal government, GCCA had to work through the Georgia  legislature to get a bill sponsored to prohibit unnecessary unemployment claims by Pre-K teachers.  During the 2014 session, HB 714 was passed and signed by the Governor.  HB 714 solidified this rule so effective summer 2015, Pre-K teachers are not able to obtain unemployment benefits during breaks and holidays.

Provider Resources for Pre K

2015/016 Rate Sheet

DOL Ruling on Pre K Teachers and Unemployment Benefits »

Current Pre K Operating Guidelines »

DECAL website for Pre K »

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Alpharetta, Georgia 30005
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