Your Smart Start May 2020

Leandro Report Released

Stemming from a court case Leandro v. North Carolina filed in 1994 by five low-wealth school districts who claimed that they did not have enough money to provide an equal education to their students. A report has been released from the Commission on Access to a Sound Basic Education. 

Among many recommendations is included the recommendation to scale up the Smart Start program to increase quality, access, and support for at-risk children and families. The consultant found that Smart Start’s current legislative appropriations fund 5% of the calculated need for early childhood in the state and calls for new funds to reach 25% of need, as originally outlined. This would total $532 million over the next eight years. 

The Commission on Access to a Sound Basic Education will meet again later in January. Over the next few months, the court is expected to begin issuing orders based on the recommendations of the Commission and the WestEd report. These orders will require consideration and action from the General Assembly during this year’s legislative session, which will begin in April or May

This information is provided by the North Carolina Partnership for Children. The commission's work has confirmed what the early childhood community already knows: a sound basic education begins at birth. The report shows that current investments are not sufficient to guarantee an accessible and high quality early childhood system.  The Leandro case provides a potential avenue to secure  new funds and policy changes needed to strengthen the early childhood system in North Carolina.