On October 30th, the Buncombe County Commissioners resolved to create an Early Childhood Education and Development Fund “to ensure that every child in Buncombe County has an equal opportunity to thrive during their first 2,000 days, including access to quality early childhood education.” The county will provide $3.6 million annually to the fund, starting in 2020.
The resolution prioritizes increasing access to affordable, high quality childcare and Pre-K classrooms; creating workforce development strategies to recruit and retain qualified teachers; and providing support services for children and families enrolled in those programs.
“County Commissioners have worked over the last two years to elevate early childhood development as a strategic priority and began funding several important initiatives,” said Amy Barry of the Buncombe Partnership for Children. “This vote takes that commitment to a new level to help our community leverage additional investments to benefit young children, their parents, employers, and our schools for years to come.”
This decision is a victory for the recently launched Family-friendly, Affordable Buncombe initiative which has called for a $12 million annual investment in early childhood, housing, and transit funded by the County and City of Asheville using new property tax revenue from the anticipated sale of Mission Health.
Family-Friendly Affordable Buncombe is an initiative by the Asheville-Buncombe Preschool Planning Collaborative, Success Equation, and the Asheville Regional Transit Coalition to leverage the opportunity provided by the sale of Mission Health to make the region more affordable for Buncombe County families and workers.
Since 2016, NCECF’s Local Funding for Early Learning initiative has provided communities across NC with information, training and tools needed to gain support for local investments in early learning to supplement funds from federal and state programs. In 2016, community leaders from Buncombe County participated in the local financing training hosted by NCECF and Budget and Tax Center.