Yesterday, City Council President Jason Williams held a press conference to discuss and celebrate the historic allocation of $1.5 million for early childhood education in the 2019 City Budget unanimously adopted by the Council. The budget allocation does not require additional taxpayer dollars. Instead, it allocates money in the General Fund to invest in young people from the very start.
Council President Jason Williams said, "The City is budgeting for long-term positive outcomes and is no longer acting from triage perspective. The 2019 budget focuses on people-centered allocations to fund the needs of New Orleanians at every income level and in every neighborhood. Last year, we piloted a historic $750,000 investment in early childhood education, and we have doubled that commitment this year with $1.5 million to set our children up to succeed rather than wait for them to fail. Our young people, our workforce and our city at large will be improved by this allocation now and for generations to come."
Council Vice President Helena Moreno said, "We all know early investment yields real results for our children. Our communities are calling out for this type of investment, and I'm happy to work with my colleagues to deliver for New Orleans. It's not yet enough, but I look forward to continuing to prioritize smart and meaningful investments in New Orleans children. Our future depends on it."
District "A" Councilmember Joe Giarrusso said, "Funding early childhood education touches the head and the heart. All children deserve a quality education and the data is clear that the earlier we invest, the better outcomes we can all expect."
District "B" Councilmember Jay H. Banks said, "We will never arrest our way out of crime, we have to stop creating criminals. The more we spend on early education translates to the less we will spend on incarceration. This is an investment in our community's future that will pay multiple dividends."
District "D" Councilmember Jared Brossett said, "The best investment we can make as a City is in quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children and their families. It can drive success in school and changes lives of at-risk children, their families, and the path of our City. We are making a $1.5 million investment that will create valuable and productive citizens for generations to come."
New Orleans Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Director Hamilton Simons-Jones said, "The New Orleans Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and our coalition partners thank the Mayor and the New Orleans City Council for their leadership and commitment to supporting our youngest children and their working parents. This investment builds on a successful program developed this year to expand the number of families who have access to a high-quality early care and education for their children, birth through age three. We look forward to working with our City leaders to expand investments in what we know works for early childhood. This is one of the most important investments our city can make."
United Way of Southeast Louisiana President & CEO Michael Williamson said, "The City's commitment to increasing funding for early care and education is a much-needed step forward in expanding equitable access to quality learning opportunities for all. Closing the education achievement gap is economically beneficial not only for low-income households but for all New Orleans residents."
Louisiana Policy Institute for Children Executive Director Melanie Bronfin said, "Today marks a huge victory for the working parents of New Orleans who need affordable, reliable, quality care for their young children. More importantly, it is a huge victory for the children, themselves, who will be given a strong start for success in school and in life. This allocation not only sets a precedent that we hope will be followed by cities and parishes across Louisiana, it also establishes New Orleans as a leader among a growing number of cities nationwide who are investing in early care and education."