2017-2018 Proposed Supports for Keystone STARS programs

As part of Keystone STARS Revisioning, OCDEL and stakeholders involved in the process want to make sure that limited resources are being used as effectively as possible to provide quality early learning opportunities, especially for at-risk children. CLICK HERE for the 2017-2018 awards/grants structure.

As a result, OCDEL has made adjustments to financial supports. 

  • Maintain funding for teacher higher education scholarships (T.E.A.C.H. and Rising STARS Tuition Assistance) and Education and Retention Awards;
  • Maintain STAR 2 tiered reimbursement and merit awards;
  • Increase tiered reimbursements for STAR 3 and 4 programs by 23 percent by shifting resources from merit awards. By shifting these resources to tiered reimbursement, providers will have more flexibility with no grant paperwork (saving time and money). With the 12-month redetermination of children receiving Child Care Works, providers will also experience more stability and less paperwork serving these children. Regional Keys can also direct more resources to support quality improvement, and the Commonwealth can provide more equitable supports for at-risk children.

The reimbursement gap to cover the cost of quality early learning widens at the higher STAR 3 and 4 levels. Restrictions on merit awards can make it challenging to offset those costs, especially retaining qualified staff.

The current merit award structure has not resulted in a significantly higher percentage of children receiving Child Care Works enrolling in Keystone STAR 3 and 4 facilities. In fact, there is such an inequitable distribution of resources for at-risk children that programs serving the minimum percentage of at-risk children receive more than ten times the amount per at-risk child than programs serving 90-100 percent enrolled children with IEPs or receiving Child Care Works subsidy.

 

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