Policy Strategies & Innovations Link copied!

Innovation Name Innovation Type Innovation Subtype Features at a Glance Strategy Summary
Austin Land Development Code Update for Child Care Centers Expansion Physical Space and Facilities

Amendments to the city’s Land Development Code permit child care centers to operate or build in locations where they previously could not, increasing the available space for commercial child care centers in Austin by about 77,000 acres

In January 2023, the Austin City Council passed a resolution instructing the City Manager to draft amendments to the Land Development Code to make it easier to provide child care services throughout the city. The resolution also called for an economic development grant program to help qualifying child care operators cover city fees associated with opening or expanding a child care facility.

Nine months later, after the amendments were finalized, the City Council passed a resolution to codify them, thereby expanding land-use allowances and permitting operators of child care centers to build in locations where they previously could not. The changes created a new zoning designation for child care centers, allowed child care facilities to be operated in residential areas, and increased the number of children who are allowed to enroll at child care centers. The resolution also helped to remove zoning, permitting, and fee requirements. 

The new regulations increased the available space for commercial child care centers in Austin by about 77,000 acres. In the city’s child care deserts specifically, the area in which commercial child care centers can operate increased about 200%, to 60,339 acres.

LEARN MORE: AUSTIN LAND DEVELOPMENT CODE UPDATE

Sources:

KUT Radio, Austin's NPR Station. (2023). It just got a lot easier to operate a child care center in Austin.

City of Austin. (2023). Resolution No. 20230126-055.

Speak Up Austin. (n.d.). C20-2023-001 Childcare Services.

City of Austin. (2023). Recommendation for Action.

Community Impact. (2023). Child care centers now allowed in more places across Austin.

Austin Property Tax Exemption for Child Care Facilities Dedicated Funding Streams Expansion Property Tax Physical Space and Facilities

Following voters’ approval of a state constitutional amendment, the City Council authorized a 100% property tax exemption for eligible child care operators in the city

In November 2023, Texas voters approved Proposition 2, activating a constitutional amendment that allows counties or municipalities to authorize a property tax exemption on all or part of the appraised value of property used to operate child care facilities. Two days later, in a unanimous vote, the City Council made Austin the first city in Texas to authorize a 100% property tax exemption for eligible child care operators in the city, beginning in 2024. The Council also directed the city manager to identify similar relief options for home-based child care centers, which are not eligible for tax relief under the constitutional amendment. 

 The amendment specifies that the exemption for child care operators must equal at least 50% of the property’s appraised value. Advocates for the amendment aimed to alleviate some of the financial burden that Texas child care facilities face, allowing providers to put more money toward recruiting and retaining high-quality staff, maintaining physical spaces, and acquiring necessary supplies.

For a child care facility to be exempt, it must be both licensed and part of the Texas Rising Star Program, a quality rating and improvement system for child care programs that participate in the Texas Workforce Commission’s Child Care Services. At least 20% of the children enrolled in the facility’s child care program must receive subsidies or scholarships from the Texas Workforce Commission. Home-based child care facilities are not eligible. The amendment went into effect in January 2024. 

LEARN MORE: PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR CHILD CARE facilities

Sources:

KUT Radio, Austin's NPR Station. (2023). Austin City Council gives some child care providers property tax relief.

Austin American-Statesman. (2023). Austin moves to grant tax breaks to child care centers after Texas voters approve Prop 2.

Ballotpedia. (2023). Texas Proposition 2, Property Tax Exemption for Child-Care Facilities Amendment.

Property Tax Exemption for Child Care Facilities Amendment Dedicated Funding Streams Expansion Physical Space and Facilities Property Tax

State constitutional amendment will allow counties or municipalities to authorize a property tax exemption on all or part of the appraised value of property used to operate child care facilities

In November of 2023, Texas voters passed Proposition 2, approving a constitutional amendment that will allow counties or municipalities to authorize a property tax exemption on all or part of the appraised value of property used to operate child care facilities. The exemption must equal at least 50% of the property’s appraised value. Advocates for the amendment were aiming to alleviate some of the financial burdens that Texas child care facilities face.

For a child care facility to be exempt, it must be both licensed and part of the Texas Rising Star Program, a quality rating and improvement system for child care programs that participate in the Texas Workforce Commission’s Child Care Services. At least 20% of the children enrolled in the facility’s child care program must receive subsidies or scholarships from the Texas Workforce Commission. Home-based child care facilities will not be eligible. Proposition 2 will go into effect in January 2024. 

Learn more: property tax exemption for child care facilities amendment

Sources:

Ballotpedia. (2023). Texas Proposition 2, Property Tax Exemption for Child-Care Facilities Amendment.

KXAN. (2023). Proposition 2: Texans vote on child care property tax exemption.

Texas Workforce Commission Apprenticeship Program (RAP) Workforce Apprenticeships

Part of Federal Registered Apprenticeship Program

In June 2022, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) announced a new child care apprenticeship program to address a workforce shortage in the industry. To build a pipeline of skilled teachers, the TWC was awarded three grants totaling $793,401 to create two new early childhood apprenticeship programs and expand one existing program. The grants expand the Camp Fire First Texas program in Tarrant County, create a new program at Dallas College, and create another new program at the Heart of Texas Workforce Development Board, Inc. in Waco. The apprenticeship programs train teachers while offering full-time and paid positions. The grants also assist apprentices who have completed the Registered Apprenticeship Program by transferring their completion certificate into college credit hours, putting them within three to five classes of earning an associate degree.

Learn More: Texas Workforce Commission

Sources:

Texas Workforce Commission. (n.d.). Child Care & Early Learning Services - Program Overview.

Texas Workforce Commission. (2022). TWC Awards Grants to Develop Child Care Apprenticeship Programs.

Texas Student Data System Infrastructure Systems Data Systems

P-20 Longitudinal Data System

The Texas Education Agency’s Texas Student Data Systems hosts the states’ P-20 longitudinal data system, which includes early childhood data (e.g., public/private pre-K data, assessment results, and staff) since 2019 in addition to other raw and aggregate data from the Public Education Information Management System. The system functions as a central data warehouse and links collections of data across agencies, including data submitted to the reporting tool, the Early Childhood Data System. The system links demographic, program, and individual data spanning childhood education, K-12, higher education, and workforce. The individual data is deidentified with a unique identifier. Data is available internally for agencies and authorized users.

The Texas Student Data System has been in development since the early 2000s (S.B. 1 (2002-2003) ),but has included early childhood data only since 2019. The system is largely funded by federal grants and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.

Learn More: Texas Student Data System

Sources:
Texas Student Data System (n.d.). Infographic.
Texas Public Education Information Resource. (n.d.). TPEIR Home Page.
Texas Education Agency. (n.d.). Early Childhood Data Collection Requirements.
The State of Texas. (2003). Text of Conference Committee Report Senate Bill No. 1 (General Appropriations Act).

Sales Tax for San Antonio Pre-K Dedicated Funding Streams Sales Tax

Tax raises approximately $36 million annually to support pre-K

In 2009, in an initiative called "SA 2020," Mayor Julián Castro asked San Antonio residents to consider what they wanted their community to look like in 10 years. To consider where the city should put its resources to achieve their collective vision, Castro established the Brainpower Initiative Task Force, composed of business and community leaders and scholars. This task force recommended that the city fund high-quality prekindergarten for children from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

In 2012, 54% of San Antonio voters approved a referendum to fund Pre-K 4 SA through a one-eighth-cent sales tax. Annually, the tax raises $36 million for preschool funding each year.

Learn More: Pre-K 4 SA
Texas Public School Prekindergarten Expansion Targeted Pre-K Policy (4-Year-Olds)

Percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled (as of 2022): 47%
Percentage of 3-year-olds enrolled (as of 2022): 9%
Minimum hours of operation: 32,400 minutes/year; 5 days/week 

Texas’s targeted public pre-K program serves 47% of the state's population of 4-year-olds. To be eligible, children must meet one of a short list of criteria meant to identify and support children experiencing risk factors. Public School Prekindergarten is administered by the Texas Education Administration’s Early Childhood Division and is offered in a combination of public and private settings. Additionally, the State’s House Bill 3, signed into law in June 2019, requires that “all prekindergarten programs offered to eligible four-year-old students be full-day, and meet the high-quality requirements adopted by the legislature in 2015” (TEA, 2022). Texas continued its expansion efforts by launching the Child Care Expansion Initiative in May 2022, which is run by the Texas Workforce Commission. The initiative helps programs open a new location, increase capacity by adding slots, or convert existing slots to infant slots.

Learn More: Texas Workforce Commission Child Care Provider Expansion Initiative

Sources:
National Institute for Early Education Research. (2023). Texas.
Texas Education Agency. (n.d.). Prekindergarten Registration and Enrollment.
Texas Education Agency. (n.d.). Prekindergarten Program FAQ.

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Demographics Link copied!

Demographics Data Scorecard

State population

30,029,572 Source U.S. Census, 2022

Rural %

16.3% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Urban %

83.7% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Number of children 0–4

1,905,442 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Poverty levels - children 0—8 below 200% poverty

43% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Median family income among households with children

$76,600.00 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Unemployment rate

3.9% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2022

Unemployment rate of parents

5% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force

62% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children living in households with a high housing cost burden

32% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Child Population by Race and Ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Race and Ethnicity

  • American Indian and Alaska Native (.5%)
  • Asian (5%)
  • Black or African American (12%)
  • Hispanic or Latino (49%)
  • Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander (.5%)
  • Two or more races (3%)
  • White, not Hispanic or Latino (31%)
Year 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019
Governor R R R R R
State House R R R R R
State Senate R R R R R

Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!

Early Childhood Education Programs

Public Pre-K Program Name

Texas Public School Prekindergarten Program Source: NIEER 2023

Universal or Targeted Pre-K Policy

Targeted Pre-K Policy (3- and 4-Year-Olds) Source: NIEER 2023

Early Childhood Education Programs (3-Year-Olds) Source: NIEER 2023

Programs

  • Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs (9%)
  • 3-Year-old Children Enrolled in Head Start (8%)
  • Other/None (83%)

Early Childhood Education Programs (4-Year-Olds) Source: NIEER 2023

Programs

  • Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs (47%)
  • 4-Year-old Children Enrolled in Head Start (6%)
  • Other/None (47%)

Workforce Link copied!

2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Source CSCCE 2018, 2020

Role

  • Child Care Workers
    $9.90 (2017, adjusted)
    $10.15 (2019)
  • Preschool Teachers
    $13.70 (2017, adjusted)
    $14.44 (2019)
  • Preschool or Child Care Center Directors
    $21.52 (2017, adjusted)
    $21.93 (2019)

Funding Sources Link copied!

Federal and State Early Childhood Education Funding (in Millions) Source First Five Years Fund, 2022

Funding Source

  • Head Start and Early Head Start Funding ($676.3)
  • CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($866.5)
  • CCDBG State Match ($79.1)
  • CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations - CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($5900)
  • State-Funded Pre-K ($1000)
  • MIECHV ($19.4)
  • IDEA Part C ($65.6)
  • IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($374)
  • TANF Early Learning and Care ($339.2)