Press release from Children First/Communities in Schools:
Parents, early childhood teachers, doctors, and advocates rallied support in the days leading up to last night’s Buncombe County Commission vote to create an Early Childhood Education and Development Fund. With bipartisan support, the Commission approved steps necessary to create an annual $3.6 million Early Childhood Education and Development Fund to address the critical needs for affordability, access, quality, and workforce training to better serve children birth – preschool across the county.
“County Commissioners have worked over the last two years to elevate early childhood development as a strategic priority and began funding several important initiatives,” notes Amy Barry of the Buncombe Partnership for Children. “Yesterday’s vote takes that commitment to a new level and will help our community leverage additional investments that will benefit young children, their parents, employers, and our schools for years to come.”
This decision moves one-third of the recently launched Family-friendly, Affordable Buncombe initiative forward. Supported by three coalitions and numerous community voices, Family-friendly, Affordable Buncombe calls 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. While the Commissioners have not finalized details on funding the $3.6 million Early Childhood Fund, the amount aligns with Family-friendly, Affordable Buncombe’s recommendation.
“This new investment is a big step towards ensuring our county is a family-friendly and affordable place to call home,” said Vicki Meath of Just Economics. “Transit, child care, and housing promote family economic mobility and benefit our entire community.”
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 unique opportunity provided to our community by the sale of Mission Health in order to make our region more affordable for Buncombe County families and workers. For more information or to endorse this effort: familyfriendlybuncombe.org.