BGR Supports Proposed New Orleans Early Childhood Education Property Tax

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NEW ORLEANS — From the Office of Government Investigation:

BGR has launched a new report intended to help New Orleans voters make an informed decision about whether to pass a new 20-year, $5 million property tax dedicated to programs and capital investments that provide child care and educational opportunities for children who have not yet entered to kindergarten. It also provides BGR’s position in support of the tax.

The BGR report finds that the City of New Orleans, through an agreement with the parish’s lead agencies for early childhood education, would allocate revenue from the proposed tax to initiatives designed to increase access to education for the early childhood, improve the quality of available early learning programs, and provide comprehensive child development services. The City’s agreement with local nonprofit Agenda for Children and the Orleans Parish School Board directs most of the estimated $19.4 million net revenue to serve at least 1,000 children annually through City Seats , an existing program funded by the City. City Seats provides year-round early childhood education and support services for economically disadvantaged children from infancy to age 3.

High costs and limited public funding make access particularly difficult for the children City Seats serves. Currently, publicly funded early childhood education programs support only a quarter of New Orleans’ economically disadvantaged children under the age of 4, leaving about 8,400 without services. At the same time, national research finds that comprehensive early childhood education for children from low-income households can generate strong returns on investment through its positive impacts on income, health, and crime. City Seats incorporates several practices that research has linked to better child development and later life outcomes that benefit participants and society. City Seats’ income and age requirements also ensure that tax revenues are eligible for state matching funds for early childhood education, which, depending on availability, could expand the program to an additional 1,000 children.

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