In April 2023, Anchorage voters approved Proposition 14, a ballot measure that allocates an additional $5 million to $6 million per year for child care and early education. Brought before voters with bipartisan support, Proposition 14 created the Anchorage Child Care and Early Education Fund (ACCEEF), which takes the revenue generated by the City of Anchorage’s 5 percent sales tax on marijuana purchases and dedicates it to child care and early education for Anchorage families. Instead of being funneled into the city’s general fund, as it has been for years, the revenue generated will be used to support child care or early education provider training, professional development, staffing, and wages; to fund the upkeep or the development of child care facilities; or to make child care slots more accessible for individual families. The ACCEEF will start accumulating in January 2024, and will be delivered in a variety of ways, including vouchers or grants to individual families and grants to early learning centers.
The measure also creates an Accountability Board of Child Care and Early Education, to be appointed by the mayor of Anchorage and confirmed by the Anchorage Assembly. The board will determine how best to use the tax revenues to make child care more accessible in Anchorage and to drive effective implementation. The board will advise the mayor and Assembly on use of the funds and will present a proposed budget to both annually. After the budget is reviewed and finalized by the mayor and Assembly, funds will be dispersed beginning in 2025.
Care for Kids Anchorage. (n.d.). About.
Alaska Public Media. (2023). Anchorage voters to decide on using marijuana taxes to fund early education, child care programs.
Anchorage Daily News. (2023). A ballot proposition aims to put Anchorage marijuana tax revenue toward easing the city’s child care crisis.
Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:
Learn More about ELS@H Findings
Stable, robust funding is essential to expanding and improving early education. Unlike K-12 education, early education has historically been supported through a fragmented – and largely insufficient – set of federal, state, and local funds. Research suggests there is a need for more accessible, affordable, and high-quality approach to early education across the mixed-delivery system – and for better financial and professional supports for the educators who serve children and families each day; creating dedicated funding streams can therefore help states and cities address these needs and achieve these goals.
Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) show:
- Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
- But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply.
- No one early education setting type is inherently of higher quality than another; children develop and learn well in every setting type, and in the study, all setting types showed room to grow in quality.
- Early educators play a critical role in supporting the well-being of young children and families across setting types.
- Yet their pay, benefits, and other professional supports are often inadequate in light of the job demands and their cost of living.