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Speaker 5 - 1:08:03 PM
And I've got your email in front of me. Another topic that you brought up that you may want to speak to is the balancing of all the different factors is committee tries to advance in particular the need for the delivery of early care and education, which is that operational repeat application piece. Balancing that with expanding slots, building the workforce and some of those more either
Speaker 4 - 1:08:33 PM
Right. Expansion
Speaker 5 - 1:08:34 PM
Style proposals.
Speaker 4 - 1:08:36 PM
Exactly. And also acknowledging we were working in a very difficult economic and legislative environment. And so what conditions there are both in the economy kind related to workforce and legislation, legislative related, a lot to resources, all are factors that are drivers that we're, seems to me we're constantly trying to fit together in a puzzle. And it's as it is very challenging as as we all know. And so I think at times we've we've said it's about slots. It's about slots. And we had that discussion at our last meeting and I noticed in the PowerPoint we got today, that's a key thing. I mentioned also the county's priorities were another driver. So these five drivers are, make this extremely challenging and, and as we know it, this is a very expensive endeavor. Childcare is essential and it's, it needs a lot of resources of different types.
Speaker 3 - 1:09:54 PM
Can I jump in please? Now, now my, my brain's finally getting into it. So we've talked about in, in the past we've talked about slots, we've talked about quality, we've talked about workforce, we've talked about advocacy. And so it kind, I mean, I'm not gonna be serving any, any longer, but before I looked at the next set of grants, I'd really have an interest in understanding what's the biggest priority from the group's perspective and trying to establish some parameters that reflect that priority. Because I mean, I too, and I'm also interested and probably gonna drag us down a rabbit hole on this one, but community action opportunities, for example, had its contracts ended by the happening authority. I don't know that I've read this email that came back and whether I'm satisfied with the responses that, but my, my question there is, is that just a due and due diligence to ensure we have contracts in place type of activity that then means they're gonna go back out for contract and unlikely get picked up again.
Speaker 3 - 1:11:16 PM
I just don't wanna see us inadvertently lose the slot because we're trying to get paperwork in a row, which absolutely is kind of horrifying that we haven't had contracts for I don't know how many years. So I'm all for that. I just think we better make sure that the right and left hand are talking about what's going on there. But that reflects back on, on the comment that was just made about looking at where we spent lots of money and what we've got as a result of those dollars. I think that would be a really important aspect of things. So it would make, and ultimately if that work is done and priorities are established, it's gonna make judging those grants easier. This is not easy. The other thing that I continue to worry about and don't know what the answer is, is how much we are spending locally to supplement salaries and is salary supplementation where the focus needs, wants, where we want it to be? Or is it, do we want to spend money on other things that maybe shouldn't be funded by the county and should instead be funded by the state? I mean, you put more money into advocacy knowing that that's gonna be, that could be a multi-year project.
Speaker 3 - 1:12:44 PM
I don't know. Those are all the things that kind of roll through my head when we talk about this stuff. I think those are fair concerns. I think we, we, this is kind of a brainstorming session to keep some of those notes and talk about when this comes up on our agenda, do we have an open session to talk about what our best path forward is? I I, I think I agree with you to the, especially to the extent that advocacy has to be a big part of this. We don't have enough money in bunk 'em to rectify a problem that's destroying our country as far as early childhood.
Speaker 3 - 1:13:17 PM
I think we've, in the past years, and I'll to defer to commissioner on this one, but we've tried to respond where our money money will be used in like the highest and best use kind of I idea. And I, I think it's helpful to have a five year strategic plan for what is our overarching vision and year by year, how do we not ignore the problems that are coming up in front of us or we we're gonna have those places that shut down. So if that means tightening up our contracts, then we'll do that. If that also means trying to make sure that we keep the maximum number of places open that we can and saying like, we also cannot be in the business of telling you how to run your operation, then we want to support you. So just figuring out what that looks like and who, what that looks like day by day. Sorry Rachel, your job's gonna keep getting harder here, but I,
Speaker 5 - 1:14:04 PM
I hear what you're saying about having a a, an intentional, I'm trying not to use the term strategic plan 'cause we're gonna talk strategic planning for county in a minute, but intentional that multi-year. Look at what our top priorities are so we can align funding to that. And Leslie and kids suggestion about looking at our retrospective impact to help inform that while also needing to be responsive to factors that come up. We're downstream in many ways and what happens at the legislature or what happens in early care and education at community levels, like the example you brought up with a specific provider. There's some desire to be able to respond when things like that come up has
Speaker 3 - 1:14:52 PM
In that kind of vein. We also responded when we had one that was closing in Buncombe County and we had happened to have some available funds that we could do some things with in order to assist in keeping those slots open. I think that's super important. I mean we were talking about it and I said, if not this committee then who, who would, who would we have gone to to try and keep all those slots open, those teachers employed, et cetera. So I think that's another one that should be, maybe it is intentional to have some, some funding available for when these unforeseen things happen.
Speaker 3 - 1:15:38 PM
And you know, some of us on the commission have also been talking, of course this is not the year four, but going forward in the future for those of us who were here in the be in the beginning, remember we started this to increase the slots in the county, but we didn't realize what we were getting into with Covid and everything else. We ended up saving slots, which is good. But I think going forward we need to add to it on our side to the pot, but restrict the funds just for new slots so that we can make sure while we are keeping the slots we have, but we've got to more thoughts. I mean if we going to accomplish our goal and as we do our strategic plan, the new one, maybe we can look at that, you know, and include it because it is going to be critical for us.
Speaker 3 - 1:16:42 PM
I think in the future we've got to work toward universal pre-K in Buckham County if we are going to be successful. But we gotta start, you know, we can't just keep keeping a few slots here, but more kids are backing up. You know, we can't get 'em in pre-K but we've gotta look at that. No, I won't, I won't be here, but I'll, I think the focus on advocacy is going to be crucial. So however the committee decides to focus its money every year, whether it's increasing the number of slots or, or whatever parameters the committee puts around, I think that's fine. But I had the experience of being on a committee statewide group that met for years on Medicaid expansion and Medicaid expansion. You know, North Carolina came in right under the wire one of, next to the last one or something like that. And it took a decade at least.
Speaker 3 - 1:17:54 PM
And when I talked to my board about my distribution committee, grants committee about advocacy, I've talked about the fact that yes, it's much harder to measure. You're not gonna see gains every year. It's a long battle, but it only takes one victory. And so if it takes 10 years, but you finally ring the bell in Raleigh and you get the necessary state funding to do all of these things, then it may, you know, I mean to me that's what's worth the, the investment is the investment in getting changes made in Raleigh. Whether it's increasing slots, whether it's the teacher pipeline, I mean pipeline for what if they're not gonna get paid enough. I mean it's, so whatever the committee does, I hope the advocacy angle isn't, I mean, I know that the commission, the county already has a lobbyist, but I think it is gonna have to be something more intentional focusing on early childhood.
Speaker 3 - 1:19:09 PM
And it can't be just that bulk. I mean it's also gotta be you have be statewide, you know, that also have a more conservative reputation and representation and there are people on both sides of the island who want this happen. But until that happens, this is gonna be about bandaid. Medicaid is a good example of that. And we were one of the first chambers, for example, to come out in favor of it and, but people were kind of like, well, what do you expect? That's Asheville. That's right. And so we had to work with and talk, tell the story over and over again to the chambers that were in more conservative areas and throughout the region that has certain more conservative representation. So I I agree it could, you could be in for a long haul though if that is, if what we experience with Medicare and I 26 funding are an example.
Speaker 3 - 1:20:08 PM
It it just takes a long time. The fact that we've got a person in commerce representing childcare is infrastructure. The fact that the North Carolina Chamber has taken on the issue and incorporated it into their legislative agenda are huge points to me that we're at least making progress. I guess I wanna follow up on a piece of that kids just saying, I keep coming back to over and over and over again workforce, and I don't necessarily mean early childhood workforce, that childcare, you know, is a workforce issue for economic development for every business around. So maybe this committee, we need to start thinking about how, and I know the chambers tried to do a lot with businesses to get them to do on onsite childcare and maybe we as a committee need to look at ways to jumpstart private companies into, you know, offering, you know, childcare on site, you know, as part of their workforce development and workforce.
Speaker 3 - 1:21:26 PM
Because we've all heard stories of people, you know, being offered jobs, but they can't find childcare so they don't move here. And so, you know, I think maybe we need to, you know, sort of broaden our view of workforce and then bring in, you know, the business community. Because again, I think as you said, it is gonna take private, you know, individual business and you know, county all coming together on the three legged stool. Have it stand. So like maybe we need to think about directing some way of helping businesses get over the hump. It's so expensive too. The ones that we've, we've talked to, I've dragged many of our strategic partners in, into conversations and looking into it and it is so expensive and it's not like there's grant funding out there for that. And frankly, they don't wanna be in the childcare business. They might be willing to to offer up the facilities, but they want to be in that business, but they want to, and yet they want to be able to retain their rent. I have lots of issues and no, no solutions. Well, you know what one, we can extend your term or two you can go publish on that I, Leslie, I see up there.
Speaker 4 - 1:22:51 PM
Yes. Hi. Relative to the advocacy, I just wanted to mention that there's a new group that's been meeting for many years in western North Carolina around early childhood advocacy that Greg Borum from Children First has been working on for all these years for, he's been in this arena for 15 years or more. And I had the pleasure of meeting with him not long ago about this group and it's called WNC Early Childhood Coalition. And he is bringing stature and resources and people with this single focus of what we've just been talking about over these years, these 15 years that and more that so many of us have been involved in this advocacy. But he, as a consistent person, has developed very valuable relationships with legislators and kept up with who's in what roles as they change. And they are speaking directly with the folks that they think are the most powerful and the most likely.
Speaker 4 - 1:24:07 PM
And there is an early care and education co caucus now in the legislature. And they're working with this caucus right now. They're, they're in the fundraising mode. They're trying to raise $5,000 in order to match gifts that Terry Van Dyne gave them as a matching challenge. So one thing we could do is to go on Greg's website, or not Greg's website, but the group, it's many people in the end of the state on the Early Childhood Coalition, WNC, and donate a gift to the their campaign so they can draw down this other $5,000 that Terry has waiting for 'em. And we may wanna get the group, may wanna get Greg to come in and, and do a update. Again, I will be one of these that won't be with you, but unless I decide to watch on livestream, but I, I think he would find what they have done and have planned to do. Very promising. But they want, they need help. We need to be of one voice and strong. And so I'm interested in getting everybody to coalesce with one message and one strategy or series of strategies. But just a, a important thought on that, I believe.
Speaker 3 - 1:25:33 PM
Thank you Leslie and I, I actually do get Greg's emails and I've been very impressed at what, what's being put together there. I think it'll be a productive one for the long term.
Speaker 4 - 1:25:42 PM
I too,
Speaker 3 - 1:25:43 PM
Rachel, to make sure you have some, some action item from what you actually put on our agenda here. I, my vote will be that we consider doing kind of like what we did for our last county commission work session and having strategy and innovation come in so we can kind of bring from some of this in a longer than 10 minute kind of vain. I, I, I think there's a lot of important conversation we have to have about advocacy, but certainly don't, don't think we'll be able to accomplish that now with the other things on the agenda. So if we can have that in the future, that would be
Speaker 5 - 1:26:11 PM
I agree. And when we have been talking about the concept of funding philosophy, teeing up and filling out the script's interest in establishing said approach that that kind of organically came up in the conversation. We do have August as an open agenda at this point. It could be a time when we pick that back up for further exploration.
Speaker 3 - 1:26:36 PM
I'm gonna propose that if everyone's comfortable with it, I, I think it would be really helpful based on what I'm hearing from all of our members who have been on for quite some time. And it might give us a chance to put together and share from commission side what our advocates are doing in Raleigh, just so we're not duplicating efforts and we can kind of get y'all's thoughts as community partners. And I'll beg you to come back even as a non-member, but just so people can hear what efforts we're taking, maybe get a five, 10 minute update from them and see if there are any areas of opportunity that we're missing or if it's as simple as a phone call to the right legislator. Again, it's a bipartisan issue. Everybody has kids, everyone wants kids to thrive. So hopefully we can make some progress there.
Speaker 5 - 1:27:14 PM
So we'll put our heads together to come up with a good agenda for that session.
Speaker 3 - 1:27:18 PM
Thank you. Any other closing thoughts? Otherwise, I'm gonna give Nette and Matt a redux version of the time we initially allotted for y'all.
Speaker 6 - 1:27:28 PM
I I have one thought, one thing. Can you guys hear me?
Speaker 3 - 1:27:33 PM
Speaker 6 - 1:27:34 PM
Yeah. Okay. One thing I think would be valuable to work on moving forward is, is a way to respond to big news. Like, for example, the head start question around whether or not they will be, they will have facilities or not with regards to funding. Because specifically in that instance, I have concerns about if, if, if those centers don't open, should that grantee receive the same amount of funding or do we need to adjust, make, make adjustments. So, but like from a systems perspective, I think it would be helpful if we have a way to respond to things like this from, from from our grant making, from a grant making perspective.
Speaker 3 - 1:28:35 PM
I agree. I think traditionally we've, we've opted for subcommittees that we advertise here in public so everyone can know complying with open meetings laws. But I, I've been blown away at how many folks have volunteered extra time to make that happen. If we can structure, add a little bit more of a firm structure around that, if we wanna have a standing group of emergency response folks, that's fine, but I, I kind of would defer to staff in terms of what y'all would have capacity for in terms of impromptu meetings for those kind of crises.
Speaker 5 - 1:29:06 PM
We'll include it in the funding philosophy discussion.
Speaker 3 - 1:29:08 PM
Sounds good. So 20 minutes
Speaker 5 - 1:29:12 PM
And you know, just to revisit the what went well, where can we improve? Staff is always really proud to work with this group of volunteers and proud to be able to, on your behalf, be reaching out to all of the community of the funding. So thank you for your dedication.
Speaker 3 - 1:29:32 PM
Well thank you for helping all of this vision become reality. Let's kick it back. We're already kind of in the strategic planning session, so if you guys want to jump into where you're comfortable, let's rock and roll. No, that's great. I love that we're already talking about the strategic planning policy here everywhere. That's great. So Burette and I are here today in a little bit different capacity. Instead of sharing data or helping to activate it, we're asking for it as some of you, especially commissioners are well aware, we are engaged in upon our new 2030 strategic plan and closing out the FY 25 strategic plan next year. So what we wanted to do, because we felt like it was a bit of a gap ladder around, was to consult with some of the committees that are engaged specifically around some of the focus areas in the strategic plan one education.
Speaker 3 - 1:30:19 PM
So what Burnett and I are gonna present to you today is gonna be a, a truncated version of, of the, some of the proposed information that's gonna be going into the strategic plan, the four version being shared today at the commissioner's work session. Right after this. I will say, you know, just normal, as a normal caveat, all of this is proposed draft, whatever your, you know, preferred verbiage is because nothing's been adopted yet and everything is on the table for editing. So start with gonna really just for the benefit of everybody who's, you know, either in the room not familiar with it or you know, watching and not familiar, really brief overview of the strategic plan process. And then we're gonna recap some of this stuff before we kind of get reach out to committee members for their feedback on, on certain items. This is gonna be a little bit less of one of those structured facilitations, no sticky wall today that comes later today in the work session.
Speaker 3 - 1:31:16 PM
But we do want to, you know, gather some feedback from you folks since you're so close to this specific topic around education. So some notable differences between the new iteration of the strategic plan and, and the current one that we have is, is gonna be increased alignment with the county's comprehensive plan, which did not exist when we did the initial strategic plan. In terms of timeline strategic plans, which think of it as the county's business plan for the next five years, it's gonna be have commensurate departmental business plans that live at the departmental level. So in your emergency medical services, budget, finance, what have you, that all you know in some form or fashion aligns up with the strategic plan, if not directly then at least indirectly and strategic plan. We have, we, we are required to have measurable goals because otherwise we cannot show what progress we're making, if any, on this.
Speaker 3 - 1:32:11 PM
And we are trying to increase our alignment with the county's annual budget. We have annual budget process. We wanna make sure that our strategic plan goals are matching up with the budget that we put out every year. Those are your two primary, I guess, policy documents coming outta local government. Use your annual budget and your strategic plan and then you have longer term documents, like your comprehensive plan. It's got the strategic plan is a little bit different than in this new version than is in the old simply because it's gonna have its own objectives and goals. Previous strategic plan had its own goals. It did not have any goal of any measures tied to those goals. They were, everything was kind of rolled up from the departmental level. So that's a little bit different. And this is a little bit of a picture of that.
Speaker 3 - 1:32:52 PM
If you're familiar with our current strategic plan, you'll know what we levelly refer to as the house. It's got your focus areas, which you know is kind of underneath the shelter of our values and our mission. And then within each focus area, our objectives. And then underneath that, our goals. We also have a sixth focus area. Don't quote me on the numbers. Those are subject to change, which is our operational or our foundational level. And that's all the stuff that actually makes all the other stuff work. So finance, budget and IT and all those operations that most folks in the county don't see every day. So a lot of folks behind the scenes making those things go function.
Speaker 3 - 1:33:31 PM
We like to use Dolly Wood as an example 'cause I haven't yet met anyone who dislikes Dolly Parton. So when we're talking about goals and focus areas and objectives, it's all nice in the abstract. This is a little bit more of a concrete example, obviously not real, did not get this from Dollywood. And it is obviously not a BUN County goal. But you know, if you're thinking of like try to put this into a more, or I guess less abstract way, a focus area might be something like music appreciation. And within that you might have numerous objectives, one of which could be, you know, ensuring that guests have a quality musical experience. And then you have several goals related to how you would measure whether or not that objective is being met. What you don't see on this slide and what you won't see on any slide that we show are all of the different activities that are taking place to make sure that those goals are being met. We call those initiatives or strategies, what have you. And those are the things that we do to make sure that hey, we are ensuring that we're reducing time between musical acts or whatever it may be. But the good way to think about it is an objective is kind of a broad statement of direction. And then we have smart goals then those smart being an acronym for a specific measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.
Speaker 3 - 1:34:39 PM
This is a bit of our timeline where we find ourselves currently. If my curf is on the screen, yeah, it kind is is right here, this June box where we're soliciting feedback from the community, from employees, we're taking things to the commissioner, this a the commissioners this afternoon, we doing that again later on in the summer and August. And then, you know, we're trying to aggregate all these things and rolling them up into something that the commissioners can then take forward, move forward, we're comfortable with and adopt with ultimate adoption. Currently slated for November 9th, we have multiple, multiple community input sessions available for the public. This is 21. There have been another additional four added since this slide was created. So we're up to 25 now that have happened. That happened in the course of May. And we did that in partnership with Kate in our equity office. And there is some demographic information to be collected. The reason we're collecting that information, which is voluntary, is just to make sure we're, you know, making sure that we're hitting every element of the community that we can Okay. Standpoint communication and public engagement.
Speaker 3 - 1:35:53 PM
And that's kind of a brief overview of the strategic plan process. Hey, I did that in five minutes, I, but it was super brief and succinct. So are there any questions on that? All right, well then that, if that's the case, then I'm gonna hand it off to Burnette here, who will kind of push more with education content while I try Matt. Good afternoon committee members. So I'm gonna be sharing with you all specifically the work that has taken place within the education development focus area. I'm not, what's term we currently call them development areas. Yeah. Because it's not a focused area until it's adopted, right? But it is basically the education group, the education component of strategic plan. Just to kind of share with you all a little background. The team has been comprised of subject matter experts within the organization. The work group has met on four separate occasions.
Speaker 3 - 1:36:57 PM
And each of those meetings we've had a very kind of prescribed agenda in terms of developing the objectives and smart goals that Matt had shared with you guys. And really the genesis of the, the work of the work groups themselves originated with a series of very directional trends and focuses that the board commissioners provided. And that was really the starting point. And then from, from that point forward, that is where the work groups engaged and have been to this point so far. So I'm here basically to share with you all the, the work that's been completed and really ask you guys for your thoughts, input comments and so forth. Just so you know, the work group, we, the work group will be reconvening later this month and then again in July to once again continue working through feedback from this, from this body feedback from the commissioners, from the sessions taking place later this afternoon.
Speaker 3 - 1:38:11 PM
Once again working towards that November adoption date for the strategic plan. Two quick notes before Burnett moves forward. One being the note on the work work group participants, when we say subject matter experts, we mean subject matter experts that are on county staff. That does not mean we have reached out beyond that. So bear that in mind. Two, understanding this is the early childhood education committee and that this, what we're presenting to you is education broadly. There may be some illness in there that you think, ah, we don't really have, you know, it's not within our scope. Right. Input on please don't think that please provide whatever input you like, consider yourself, you know, this is a community input session. Please provide whatever feedback you would have on that, even if it is not something that's necessarily coaches this committee scope work.
Speaker 3 - 1:38:58 PM
Any questions? Okay. All right. So we are gonna start at the objective level. So just to kind of bring you all back to the house. So you can see the, the guidance that has been provided is really roughly two to three objectives for each focus area. So that, that's kind of where we're starting and that that's not eted in stone, but we're gonna start at the objective level. So commissioners, you all get a sneak peek in terms of what's coming later today. So the, the four objectives that the work groups have developed are enhance early learning, and that's really around providing pre-K specific support strength and pathways to adulthood. And that's really the theme there is providing opportunities for career paths, career path development, and then support adult learning. And now that's really focused on adult literacy.
Speaker 3 - 1:40:06 PM
We know the support adult learning that's focused on adult lit, adult literacy and lifelong learning. And we have an equity goal in here around improving equity in education. And the, the idea there is to reduce the outcome gap across different demographic groups. So we ask questions now or later. Sure. Let's do it now. Yep. I just think you want to be clear in the enhancing early learning where it says provide providing pre-K support, does that mean what we've been doing? And that's NC pre-K or do you mean anything before kindergarten? And, and, and these are very broad and it's intentional to be very broad. And so I think that you might want to say early childhood supports instead of pre-K because somebody's gonna read that as NC pre-K, which is a whole different thing. Gotcha. So just a thought in terms of language. Good point.
Speaker 5 - 1:41:06 PM
And or the last year before kindergarten, which is in fact is what we mean. It's good to know. But to your point, it has many meetings.
Speaker 3 - 1:41:15 PM
It does. And so you gotta decide what it means and then write that. So whichever, whichever you may. Yeah. And again, we are, we're taking these four to the commissioners Sure. The board commissioners, so they can kind of discuss what direction they want to go in. Sure, yeah. And just for, and and clarification too. So the, the four objectives you see in bold that those are really what's gonna be the components of or included in the plan, assuming it's proved by the board, the, the sub bullets are just really descriptors for you all to kind of get familiarized with what the intent was. Okay. And speaking of intent, you'll note there that we have at the very bottom there that I think it, we call an an equity objective, but don't think that we just kind of stuck equity in there and that's where it lives. We try to put equity in all of those things. You'll see that more accurately reflected in the goal level. But the education development work group felt that, you know, given kind of everything happening in the education space here in Comb County, it was important to have a specific goal to get kids to that as well.
Speaker 5 - 1:42:21 PM
Question. So from your perspective, knowing what you know, does the word education and learning, is that synonymous then?
Speaker 3 - 1:42:33 PM
It depends on what you mean. So from my perspective, I think you there, there's definitely, well I just
Speaker 5 - 1:42:37 PM
Raised that question.
Speaker 3 - 1:42:37 PM
There's definitely a reading on they can, on if there submission
Speaker 5 - 1:42:40 PM
Is just gonna be looking at the big bullets to me, I can come different definitions or pictures depending on whether I think of learning or pathways or education.
Speaker 3 - 1:42:51 PM
Yeah, education could be considered as an administration or profession as opposed to actual learning, which is actually term knowledge, what have you. Yeah, there's absolutely, there's some, there's some language nomenclature issues that's play there. If it makes it more clear, so to know learning as opposed to education or vice versa, we would happily take that advice and push forward.
Speaker 3 - 1:43:12 PM
I don't want to spoil too much of what's ahead, but of course the one that I think applies most to us is the enhanced early learning portion. Right. I don't wanna rush you along, but rather than jump into that slide, I think there's a lot of helpful information on that if y'all are comfortable going forward and have to Sure. Absolutely contextualize that conversation. Yep, yep. So the next, the next step, so, so objectives, very broad directional kind of themes, statements. The, the next phase that the work group went into was developing smart goals for each of the objectives. And, you know, just to refresh the, the smart goals are goals, targets, whatever you wanna call 'em. But the intent here is that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. And we've been, we being the strategy and innovation team have been very rigid around our requirements for a smart goal, specifically adhering to the, that definition of a smart goal and ensuring there's a data source that can be measured.
Speaker 3 - 1:44:23 PM
There's no data source, it really isn't a relevant to a relevant smart goal. So we've been, we've been very rigid around ensuring that, that those specific criteria in place. So with that be in mind, with that being said, these are the three smart goals that the work group came up with as it relates to early education. And the first one is increased number of youth participants in outdoor recreation activities sponsored by the county. And we haven't arrived at Targets yet, but the idea is once again, around increasing the number of youth participants in recreational activities and there is a data source, the parks and rec department maintains that data. So check the box on that. And you say youth, so what, how old is a youth? We haven't really defined that because this is early learning. True. And I don't understand how getting young people in the parks is.
Speaker 3 - 1:45:25 PM
I mean, I think it's a great goal, but I don't know why it's an early learning. So if I, if I can jump in on that one. So when this is presented to commission, this doesn't necessarily reflect what we're going to do as much as our internal audit of what different departments in the county have identified where they can have impact. That does not mean that that's something that we're gonna say enhances early learning per se. I think this is just a proposal of internal experts offering where they think it can be a value add. My guess is number two and three are probably of much more of interest to us specifically than the former. I mean, I, I would, I don't think anyone even parks and rec would reject the idea that
Speaker 5 - 1:46:01 PM
I think the rationale from having been in the room with education in general and early ed, more specifically when we think about what departments deliver services to young children, we came up with a very short list. One of our most relevant and direct programs was the preschool outreach program through libraries. And even that program serves centers that serve youth. Yeah. And so that was the reason for getting it in, whether or not it belongs in early education or the, the sort of K 12 ish goal. I've made an, yeah,
Speaker 3 - 1:46:39 PM
That first one definitely doesn't belong in the, in early. I
Speaker 5 - 1:46:42 PM
Think I made a note to catch it,
Speaker 3 - 1:46:44 PM
The the second one on here. And to increase the percentage of children in childcare in five years. I, I mean if we can establish an actual number and because I don't think the percentage, I mean a 1% improvement rate, I think we, we have enough of a limitation that I think we could go with an actual number instead of a percentage. And I'm not sure what it should be,
Speaker 5 - 1:47:21 PM
But let's do, but we have the number, I, we'll open the spreadsheet and fact check myself, but I feel like it was around 27%. Maybe Angeline can get to it faster of kids here to find that are in our community, are enrolled in a licensed program. And the rationale was high quality early care and education is tested and proven to show these results that lead to the upstream goal that we're looking for here, which is kindergarten readiness. So it, it is a proxy for increasing slots. We could also just say the number of seats.
Speaker 3 - 1:47:59 PM
There we go. That's kind of what I'm thinking. Let's just call it what it is. We
Speaker 5 - 1:48:03 PM
Worried about how much that was in our realm of
Speaker 3 - 1:48:09 PM
Control. Yeah,
Speaker 5 - 1:48:10 PM
That's, that would be the, I got it or not. We're using a percentage or a hard, so perhaps
Speaker 3 - 1:48:17 PM
Speaker 5 - 1:48:17 PM
Using the actual numbers instead of the percentage of filled flos or whatever the count countable thing is.
Speaker 3 - 1:48:25 PM
Going back to my piece earlier, when you're talking about community organizations, are we talking, you know, non-profit? Are we talking businesses also as an organization? And then my question becomes, rather than targeting an increase in children or you know, being enrolled, what would have, do we know how many organizations currently offer childcare and increase the number of organizations? Because we increase the number of organizations, we, I would think we'd be increasing the number of slots. Yeah, I still, I would get down to the slot number because if you increase the number of organizations and didn't effectively increase the slots than what the heck are you doing it for?
Speaker 5 - 1:49:25 PM
We have far fewer providers delivering early care and education than we have, than we had 10 or 15 years ago. Yeah. We think about those landscape slides, that bunk of partnerships for children brings us. We also have had a decline in, in enrolled children over the five year period that we've been in existence and it's been during covid. Yeah. But that means the providers that are delivering, providing care are providing more. So
Speaker 3 - 1:49:57 PM
Are you CN community organizations as providers?
Speaker 5 - 1:50:06 PM
Me personally, I think that it could be those providers of it, those advocating those other co-investors and inclusive.
Speaker 2 - 1:50:15 PM
Okay, got it.
Speaker 5 - 1:50:16 PM
But again, we're not doing the, we're not delivering slots in the county unless our commissioners are saying that's why it's gotta be, we have to get back in business if they give that directive different
Speaker 3 - 1:50:32 PM
Hope that will not come from me today. I, Leslie muted. You are muted. Leslie,
Speaker 5 - 1:50:47 PM
You're muted.
Speaker 3 - 1:50:48 PM
You're muted. Well, Leslie, while you work on that, I'm, I'm gonna keep an eye on it while I talk just to level set for everyone. Of course. You got it open right now. Go
Speaker 4 - 1:51:04 PM
Speaker 3 - 1:51:04 PM
For everyone. I, I wanna make sure that we're picking goals that we actually have some control over because I think the metric that we run into from accounting staff side is if we don't set goals that we actually meet, we don't have funding that tracks that. So I really wanna make sure, I think what we're doing is impactful. I think it's necessary. I think it's really intangible when we get into the education space, talk about what results look like because we know year by year we're having these struggles of is it slots or is it number of centers? If one center opens up 500 slots, would that solve all of our problems? Right? So there's no perfect metric. I I appreciate this brainstorming, but as much as I, I love being able to over promise and over deliver. I, I think
Speaker 3 - 1:51:42 PM
The conservative part of my brain is thinking let's not bite off too much because we'll look like we're not meeting our goals. And, and that would be beyond our control. This year would've been a good example of us technically losing slots. But honestly I think responding probably best in the state in terms of losing that number of slots. And we kind of rehabbing to what Kit said earlier, we had that fund, we were ready to do something that most communities would not have been prepared to do. Thank you for that kind of a reality check. So education is one of those kind of weird ones that the county is tangentially a part of, but doesn't have a lot of direct influence over. So one of the reasons why, and you guys are really validating this, why we want to bring this committee is to kind of get some of that perspective on like what is work do for things in the county scope. Yeah. In addition to just kind of further that point. So, you know, we talked about identifying the data source but also having the ability to influence the outcome. It's also been one of those critical criteria that we've kept an eye on through the development process. Luckily, you're definitely not muted.
Speaker 4 - 1:52:46 PM
Apologies on the second point there relative to the percentages. What I think is helpful is to use the percentages because it's easier for people to kind of judge how progress is being made. But you could also put parentheses beside the percentages saying how many kids it is from this number to this number. And then we know we have a, a sense of, is that a whole lot if we wanna get to 10% or is 2% more relative or I think giving us the benchmark, given the community and, and the various committees that you have, the, the sense of how great the benchmark is relative to the percentage that commissioners want is really helpful. And then the first one I would suggest that if Parks and Rec is it's interested in early learning, great. Why don't, why isn't this increase the number of children and youth participants? We have a whole series of things around young children in the out of doors that's really important. And it would be wonderful as the parks and rec department would work closely with providers and with other organizations interested in this, in our community. So I would be thrilled if we just said children and youth and maybe get the department involved.
Speaker 5 - 1:54:17 PM
So my issue with percent or amount is that it doesn't take into factors that aren't included in that particular statement like population growth or what other areas of our, our state are doing. And so I'd almost like to see some, you know, tracking of the number of slots in a standard deviation related to a benchmark established in North Carolina for Asheville. Like a ratio or per capita, right? Like i I, it's almost kind of like you don't know what the population is gonna be in one or two years that might drive the number of zero to one year olds that need to slot. And so you might be setting yourself up for a metric that is quite unknown and so maybe you're, you're wanting to benchmark against another entity or value. Good idea. Because everything else is measured. Student achievement is measured that way.
Speaker 3 - 1:55:19 PM
That makes sense. How do y'all feel about number three? Just so I have some action items to bring back to commission? We talk about it tonight.
Speaker 5 - 1:55:28 PM
I have a clarifying question with number three. Are we talking about like just Bunkum and Asheville City schools when we're talking about this? It's not like we're not including charter schools and probably have all, and we have a data source only for public schools, which is about, we say 70%. 70%. Those kindergarten kindergartners are in one of those two systems. Okay.
Speaker 3 - 1:55:55 PM
The, the limitations there is the data source. Where are we gonna get that? Because we don't have reporting, for instance, for children who are homeschooled. We don't have that.
Speaker 4 - 1:56:07 PM
We know the percentage of homeschooled children. I thought,
Speaker 3 - 1:56:11 PM
Well we're talking specifically around kindergarten readiness scores just measured by dpi. I if there's a place where that lives though, that's a, it's like an Apple to Apples comparison will happily incorporate it. Well, I'd love to know is which ones have been in childcare and what their scores look like because I think it would clearly show that they're gonna do better, they're gonna be more ready than kids who have not had that experience. I think we've got other research that actually supports that, but that that's right. That's what would be meaningful. Actually that was one of the takeaways. Yeah, when I presented to you guys in February that when you look at those two populations, not surprisingly, the kids that were pre-K did not.
Speaker 4 - 1:56:54 PM
And I, I think we just had one year of data if I remember correctly. So, and they're definitely asking that question in both the city and the county schools as I recall, right. On this readiness source that they used with the kids throughout the year. I think they, they asked 'em when they registered for kindergarten, did you attend a a preschool or early childhood program?
Speaker 3 - 1:57:24 PM
That's right. Yep. That's correct. Did y'all wanna give a quick survey of the next, I don't wanna deprive you of slide opportunity, but Yeah, absolutely. Any other questions or thoughts around these? And please keep in mind we'll circle back on this. This is something that commission's gonna look at tonight, but we're really curious to dig into the meat of this. A lot of the questions around where the data comes from, whether or not we think it's reliable, we can kind of flesh out as we're going in committee here. But just to give us bullet points, highlight for commission, this is a priority for this group and I think it should be for our entire county.
Speaker 4 - 1:57:58 PM
Speaker 3 - 1:58:02 PM
Okay. So under strengthened pathways to adulthood, the first smart goal is to increase public school cohort graduation, graduation rates. Second is increased paid internship programs at Buncombe County government and the third is decrease the percentage of youth ages 16 to 24 who are disconnected from school or work targets.
Speaker 4 - 1:58:26 PM
Speaker 3 - 1:58:31 PM
Will hold off on questions for now and we can move to the next one. Okay. All right. Next up Under support adult learning, the first one is increase the number of adult participants in outdoor recreation activities sponsored by the county. So this is kind of sim similar to that early childhood one, but is focused more on adults and just for the record, parks and Rec has the ability to aggregate the data based on age. So they do collect that number. The second is increase the percentage of adults 24 to 44 years of age at Buncombe County that have a career credential or college degree. And third is increased percentage of adults in Buncombe County that can read at a basic level.
Speaker 3 - 1:59:21 PM
This one we are currently challenged with a data source. We've identified one, however, it is not timely in terms of how it's updated. So Commissioner, just so you guys know, this one is gonna probably need a little more work from a work group perspective. And then under the holistically improved education equity. So the work group did not get to development smart goals specifically for this objective. You can see listed here some of the topics of conversation. But in terms of actually developing specific smart goals, time expired on our fourth session and no, we're not able to get to this one. So, so it is still in progress. One thing I'll mention is that if you recall from the 2025 plan, if you're familiar with it, is that there was not an education focus area. It was educated in capable community. And so some of those pieces specifically the capable community piece had to do things around aging in place and things of that nature. Some of them stayed in the education space, you saw one of the previous slide. Some of them have migrated to other components of the strategic plan area growth and development for instance. So that's kind of where that stuff is. Some of it is a carry forward from the previous plan. Others are new.
Speaker 3 - 2:00:46 PM
Thank you. Do you all wanna revisit any of the objectives that we shared previously? I think we can, I, what, what I guess I, I hear from the questions that we're getting so far is very much interested in the general smart goal sitting within this model that we have of objectives, probably need a little bit more information that we're gonna get from you anyway about what that looks like, how we can keep track of that data, what student success looks like, what our, our primary objectives are. But in terms of big picture 5,000 foot view, does anyone have any immediate red flags about I guess two and three on the education early childhood education slide?
Speaker 3 - 2:01:30 PM
I think that would be our focus area. I think education in general bigger and, and, and honestly one of the things that we're looking for is what if like in early enhanced early learning, what if we just completely missed the mark on like, is there a goal that does not appear that absolutely should be here? So for instance, we heard, you know, like the, the participants speak maybe, maybe not, but is there something else that's not on here that from your perspective, but there's perspective of this committee is something that we should be looking into that is within the county's scope of operations that we can get our arms around and find the data source work. I know that's a lot of caveats, but Yeah, well I guess I just saying and, and this kind of came up during our work session, I'm sure all of you are riveted watching that for the i the problem that I have with number one is not even the parts direct portion as much as what metrics are we looking for for enhancing early learning?
Speaker 3 - 2:02:22 PM
Is it third grade preparedness how these kids are performing at a certain point from point A to point C? And if so, how much control do we have over that? Are we okay listing goals that we have no control over? I can see like anyone who does that and STAT is probably gonna be really all put by that, but that has been a large part of what we've been discussing. So we're doing ourselves a disservice by not setting tangible goals because if they're not collecting it or we don't have controls, if something happens after ECE, then that's a, a hiccup we need to fix with the school boards. And I, I not that to say that we shouldn't try to do that, that's certainly something commission should do, but I, I don't want our effectiveness being impacted by the decisions other people make or don't.
Speaker 5 - 2:03:05 PM
Great point. And know that staff works on setting a lot of below the line performance goals with those organizations that we fund. So knowing that this is directionally the, the system level measure we're getting at kindergarten readiness, we're looking at the development of kids that are enrolled in providers that we're funding and how much growth or proficiency do those young children show in the, from the services provided in the classroom that year, et cetera. And we're collecting the demographic information of the race and ethnicity of the kids that are enrolled. Not setting specific performance targets on that, but knowing that we're also trying to minimize and eliminate the achievement gap that shows up in day one of kindergarten have collecting that data and encouraging our partners to have goals and measures around. Well,
Speaker 3 - 2:04:06 PM
And and to that point, if there's any goal that this committee has specific to the committee and the allocation of grants that you feel rise, the level of strategic plan goes around, you know, percent of funds allocated to increasing spots or whatever it may be, you know? Sure. That's something we will bring forward to the, to the commission. I, I'll go ahead and flag that right now. I think we need to increase the funding that we give the initiative. I, I think that's not to say we haven't done a great job, but it, it is been challenging to figure out how we do three things at once. Buncombe County looks a lot different than it did four years ago. Don't think that's an controversial thing to say. We should probably consider a real expansion plan that's more than just a incremental increase year by year and actually start looking at the data that we have that's showing that we, we keep talking about this problem. We need to have money to fix the problem that we're complaining of.
Speaker 3 - 2:05:02 PM
Amen. I don't, one thing I don't see on the, and and it's measurable I think, but whether it's something you actually want to put in here or not, I don't know. It has to do with quality. I mean, I suppose you could have everybody in a one star center if you just start up some more and, but one star centers are not gonna give you the kind of quality education you want. The quality is expensive, so you're not gonna get everybody in a five star center, but you might be able to meet a goal of increasing the percentage of children in some kind of childcare. But it's not quality childcare necessarily. Or is it movement, movement from being three star to four star, a four star to five star or something like that. I don't know. I still think you gotta come, go back and have a core conversation about what's the focus, what's, is it gonna be slots or is it gonna be quality or is it gonna be workforce or is it gonna be maintaining slots?
Speaker 3 - 2:06:06 PM
What's it gonna be? I so much Then then design the, then design the, the measure accordingly. You want all of the above. Oh, I know. Believe me, I was gonna say, I think that, that is a perfect segue. Not to cut y'all off, but I think we are headed right towards the fund funding philosophy conversation with that point, if y'all don't mind. No, no. I mean we, you guys are good. We're good. We'll see here be files on the wall and maybe got additional things that come out of the conversation mechanically, but for the most part we're good. I do think they're gonna leave that number one in there that you gotta add children to the word.
Speaker 3 - 2:06:40 PM
Fair enough. Or maybe age. That was Leslie's point and I think, I think it's important. Yeah, maybe more in age, so you know why or less or something like that. Right. Yeah. Heather shared in the chat also that I agree with the concern stated about increasing spots without specifying quality and that was from Heather. Yeah. I'll tell you what, let's, let's just spend more time on that one. If we're gonna already dedicate all of our August meeting to funding philosophy, we can continue to chat, chat about that. But would it be helpful for y'all if we gave you Matt and Burnett, if we gave y'all specific data points that we were interested in? Yes. Brewing, can we, are y'all open to that now? I think that might inform our next conversation either way. Well, I mean I, I don't know that we've got enough information.
Speaker 3 - 2:07:27 PM
So for instance, in our audience we have Amy, she would know a whole lot better than I would about what it actually takes to increase. I mean, I think it's fine to say, I mean I think quality's important, but quality's expensive. And so is increasing quality at the moment the right priority? Or is just coverage a better priority? I don't know. I don't, the answer is one more child in childcare period, or is it better to have fewer children in higher quality? Those are the kinds of, that requires a level of expertise that I don't have.
Speaker 4 - 2:08:12 PM
Well it seems to me, Philip, that it's tied to kindergarten readiness. You can have children in lower quality programs and they may not meet the standards that we wanna see for kindergarten readiness. So they may be in childcare, but they're not being prepared for success in school. Right. We don't know. And they're prob I'm sure there's data on that, but I, I don't think it's easy a trade.
Speaker 5 - 2:08:44 PM
Sorry about that, Leslie.
Speaker 4 - 2:08:45 PM
That's okay.
Speaker 5 - 2:08:48 PM
The studies that we often quote are about high quality programs, not just the five star licensure. The state has the one to five star licensure, which is a proxy, I guess for quality. The higher, the more stars, the higher quality and we could easily add a goal or have a modifier to the block goal that gets to the quality. And that was part of the committee's rationale for supporting NC pre-K because of its high quality. And to your point, it's an expensive program to deliver. What I have heard from this committee from day one is both quality and
Speaker 4 - 2:09:34 PM
Speaker 3 - 2:09:38 PM
And I, I appreciate that question, Philip, but I think it's the one that we need to keep asking every year and keep going until we get it right kind of concept. Because my guess is most programs I, I can let you speak for yourself if you like. My guess is most programs are gonna say both more money all the time, always is generally the answer I get on commission. But in terms of where we can be most impactful or where we want to really be able to hold something up because we're, we're doing multiple things at the same time in terms of the advocacy saying that you have a proven successful model, we'll, to get further support from people who otherwise are skeptical. So setting those goals in a way that we're playing the long game and also meeting the immediate need is kind of on my radar.
Speaker 3 - 2:10:21 PM
But that's something, but it's an interesting question that I don't know how we totally answer. If we take, yeah, if we put a priority of moving, let's say, and I'm just, sorry, trust me, two stars centers to three stars, and will we get a higher return on readiness later on? So is that a place to put our funding again, focusing on the quality question as opposed to the number question? And I don't know how we Well, I mean let's just muddy it even further. If, what about if we decided that slots were so very important if we had research? And I would defer to Amy also on whether that research shows that any kind of childcare is better than no childcare. No, not really. Anyway. But I was thinking about family care centers mean we talked before about the philanthropic dollars that are going into the expansion of family care in other areas of the region more so than here. I think that, and that seems to have a lower threshold if we're establishing and creating slots. I don't know what that means about the quality. I don't know that you can say, say anything about the quality, but you could say we're we wanna, we wanna foment more home care centers and therefore we're gonna have that as one of our priorities. And so a percentage of our money would go towards that kind of development, the development of that kind of center. So we actually get more slots developed.
Speaker 5 - 2:12:12 PM
We have far fewer children served in family childcare homes than we did this six years ago. I started tracking our data and it's still a very small number in terms of overall moving the needle on.
Speaker 3 - 2:12:26 PM
And again, I don't know if it is a quality result, I don't know, it's just they,
Speaker 5 - 2:12:31 PM
They're licensed so we have the same quality data about family childcare homes as we do center based care.
Speaker 3 - 2:12:39 PM
So I guess what would be helpful to me, and, and I say this portraying a little bit of ignorance about the numbers, I would love to know how many of each tier that we have when we next have this conversation and that can help inform some of our goals. And if we're at a place where you've got like, let's say three is really great and only one or two of our centers are at the two or one level, then we're spinning our wheels over something that really doesn't right. Exist. Maybe, maybe not, but that, that information would be helpful as we're trying to figure out and certainly want community input from our folks to actually do the work.
Speaker 4 - 2:13:17 PM
I think smart start over the years has done a tremendous job and moving, moving these centers up into four and fives and some threes. I Amy's there and she can speak much better than I, but I think this is one thing that the, that the state has done through Smart Start is helped all over the state to move the quality. So it would be interesting for us to see it. I'm sure we've seen it before from the, from the partnership, but they, they're on that data all the time.
Speaker 3 - 2:13:56 PM
I'm gonna, I'm gonna make my ignorance evident here by this question, but I'm curious what, like what is or what are the criteria that helps the center advance in, in, in ratings? What does it take to get from like three to a four portal five, what, what are those criteria that needed to make those steps? Student teacher ratio, education,
Speaker 4 - 2:14:21 PM
Speaker 3 - 2:14:22 PM
Level of the instructor, the materials they're working with. I mean there's probably a million factors,
Speaker 5 - 2:14:29 PM
Not a million, but several key components that you've mentioned.
Speaker 3 - 2:14:32 PM
Square footage, fence doors, outdoors, making sure that everything is fenced off.
Speaker 4 - 2:14:42 PM
But there, there's strict ratios that they must maintain every hour of every day. But when you get, I think when you get down to it, it's the education level of the staff and how, how many in what roles, how much education of the staff in, in what roles and curricula. And it's, it's amazing what, what these centers have to do in order to stay in good standing with the state.
Speaker 3 - 2:15:15 PM
I agree. And I think that brings us kind of full circle to where we were in talking about, and we'll save this for another day, but our funding philosophy and why we focus so much on workforce this past year because I, those things are intrinsically kind of length and any one thing can move the needle for the centers and our students both, but finding that critical mass of like what's the perfect amount to get the perfect sauce here. So yeah, sweet spot. So everything but any other high level thoughts on that? I think we have some talking points for next meeting and this all will inform our funding philosophy. If we get data, we'll certainly share that via email so people can process real time. I do my best thinking when I'm not on a public meeting on Facebook, but,
Speaker 5 - 2:16:02 PM
So we've got some of the data that comes to us annually, it was left and it looks like our January meeting that has that landscape quality over time, slots over time. And we also have that down at a more detailed level, how many slots by age, by quality. So we can bring those to the next conversation and when staff puts their heads together to strategize about the next session with the chair, we can talk about inviting guests to be a part of the panel or and or presentation to, to be proactive, including expertise.
Speaker 3 - 2:16:42 PM
That sounds great. Alright, well thank y'all both for contextualizing that for us. That hopefully gave you more than enough data for, for all hour and a half you have to prepare. So plenty to think about. Thank you guys for carving out your agenda. Thank y'all. Alright, we, with y'all's consent, we will move the funding philosophy meeting to our August funding philosophy discussion to our August meeting. And now take a second to highlight community committee membership in just a sincere moment of thank you. I won't say moment of silence, it sounds like y'all are going. So, but thank you to our members who are exiting committee, my vice chair Kit, Leslie, Misty, Philip, Susan, I have learned a ton from each one of you. It's been an honor to work alongside y'all and really just get to hear sometimes you get solved questions from people. I never feel like I got that from any of you guys. I think we got very direct and much needed conversation about topics and really helping us solve the problem. But I think that's where the, the work happens is when we're challenging the areas that don't work. And I, I appreciate you doing that in a way that was both effective and made me feel good as a chair so that you found a very magic combo in politics there. So thank y'all. And just a round of applause for all of our members.
Speaker 3 - 2:18:06 PM
Keep in mind we can change the bylaws so there will be an opportunity for us to bring you back. That's right. We have that. And in the interim, for anyone who's watching along or anyone who's on here and has a social media account of any kind, please share with your friends. We're looking for a few specific role. One at large physician, a bus business community or economic development professional, a funder or community investment professional professor or higher education professional and a pediatrician or pediatrician or medical professional in service to young children. So if you know anybody who puts those categories, I think they're all listed on the agenda if he needs to reference those again, but as many applications as possible, this is such critical work, y'all know that I would love to keep a staffed with a great board of folks who are gonna be engaged and, and bring that expertise that we need from every one of these walks of life.
Speaker 3 - 2:18:57 PM
As far as meeting schedule, we have no meeting in July. Enjoy a vacation unless you want to come to a county building on a holiday, don't recommend it. August meeting is going to be a funding philosophy discussion, kind of a annual roadmap. So a great opportunity still invite everyone if you want. Even if you're rolling off, I would love your insights and the newer members are not gonna have an opportunity to if gotten their feet under them. So if you have any notes, any thoughts, please send that to us. Whether you can make the meeting or not, I wanna make sure we're incorporating, keeping all the wisdom that we can. I don't have any announcements unless you do. Rachel, I'm gonna jump to public comment unless you Alright, we'll go to public comment and I have peppy up first on the list. Okay. Should I just talk from here? Wherever you're comfortable. Okay.
Speaker 3 - 2:19:49 PM
Because it's a, seems to be a recurring issue. I wanted to suggest to the committee that you might add a question to your grant applications or just have this question in, in various locations for asking centers that are applying for grants or, or when you're doing surveys, how much notice is in their MOUs or contracts with their landlords for termination. And perhaps phrase the question to ask if they have 12 months or 18 months notice and if not, how many months notice for termination of their leases. And you guys all understand the importance of that and I just wanted to share that idea. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Speaker 3 - 2:20:45 PM
And I will double check with Mr. Fur before, but I I, I do think it's prudent for us to be in a place with so many closures across so many different reasons for us to have some, at least working understanding of how long folks can provide and what we can be prepared for without interfering and, and some some things that are only unto them. I do think it's helpful for us to have the knowledge and I'm not suggesting that that be negative points or anything. But for, no, I think that's fine. Thank you. All right. And Amy, if you wanna round us out.
Speaker 5 - 2:21:15 PM
Yes. So I just wanna express my appreciation for all the thought that's gone into the discussion today and the whole process. You, you all have raised some really good questions and really good points and I think there's a whole lot more to think about. So I'm just gonna rattle off a few things and and maybe connect with Rachel later. But Abby, I understand your point and also landlords and board of directors are extremely fickle and we have seen that in terms of changing their minds and timeframes and all that. But I, it's a good idea.
Speaker 5 - 2:22:01 PM
The, the first topic that you all talked about was feedback on the applications and the process. And one thought I had was there is a, a question about what would be the impact if not fully funded. And it seemed like during the discussion around grant ward that that kind of got pushed to the side this year and that's gonna be asked. And to give that a little bit more attention I think could, could be helpful and recognizing the dire strengths that the entire early care and education system is in right now. So I appreciate the constant focus on increasing thoughts. I mean business know, we thought we would be one year stabilization and then move to expansion and now we're desperately trying to stabilize. They've got the end of compensation grants and then what isn't, you know, like getting public attention right now. Just another big cut to NC PreK administrative funding, which true impact quality.
Speaker 5 - 2:23:10 PM
So looking at the, I going back to this connection between quality slots and workforce, oh my gosh, is that ever interconnected? Right? Quality is essential and without a prepared workforce experience that contributes directly to quality without the workforce, we don't have the slot. We can't just look at NC pre-K because state funds that and they have an increased ing there's, it might be helpful to look at the work of the P 20 council that's been in existence for, I'm not sure, four years, that's preschool through age 20 and their goals very much near what we just heard in the strategic, even some of the outcomes that they have data. So that's through the land of Sky and it's four counties, but Buncombe is the largest county and that the point about Mark, to your point around business and that connection, you know, I'm, I'm really happy to say that we have appreciated how that on partnership, the Biltmore company has stepped up as partner us for that three year grant.
Speaker 5 - 2:24:28 PM
$50,000 a year to increase teens and toddler slots, which we have the least number of slots. We talk about early childhood and that that is resulting in 40 new slots, which we were kind of astounded by that they got the teachers for that. But you know, kid in the Chamber hosted a leadership circle event that really focused on family friendly strategies and a lot of that was around childcare. And you know, I think expression of appreciation and understanding and yes employers need a stable workforce and childcare is the linch to that, but they're not in a place where they can do that. But you know, it, it means, it means we have to have strong providers who could then maybe partner with them. And I think that's, that's the key goal. So looking forward in this group, thinking about the Ferry Road project and as a big opportunity for extension of childcare, how might capitalize that, capitalize on that and I dunno, I think that's, oh so 30
Speaker 3 - 2:25:45 PM
Seconds, I'm stretching a
Speaker 5 - 2:25:46 PM
Little bit happy, healthy, and ready to succeed. We focus so much on K readiness and scores and all that and I get that and we do believe that's critically important. But part of quality too is tied directly to if kids aren't happy and healthy then the learning component is hard to reach and that gets really shortchanged and it's really impacting kids right now and what we're seeing in terms of mental health issues. Thanks.
Speaker 3 - 2:26:18 PM
So Amy, I'm gonna put you in the hot seat in a future meeting. I'll reach out to you before we do that, but it seems like a lot of our questions you are able to answer right off the top of your head. So we will coordinate to do that. If you're open to it, we may see if we can loop you into one of our work sessions or at least forecast some of the questions that we have if you're okay with that.
Speaker 5 - 2:26:36 PM
Yeah, happy to do that. And beyond just once a year state of childcare, people recognize there are things like critical things locally at the state level that come up through years. So getting those updates be do that.
Speaker 3 - 2:26:52 PM
Alright, our next meeting is going to be August 6th from when the two 30 we will be on the ground floor again and otherwise I'll entertain a motion to adjourn. Second. Alright, let's do a second. All in favor A opposed all have a great summer. I'll see you in August. Goodbye.
Speaker 1 - 1:02:40 PM
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Speaker 2 - 1:03:14 PM
Speaker 3 - 1:03:20 PM
Does it feel like ancient history back in the of April, March and April? And local government land? More than two weeks feels like ancient history.
Speaker 3 - 1:03:32 PM
Thank you Rachel. Well, I won't jump on either of our new folks here. I'll give you a second cat a kit before I call on you. But I, I think we had a lot of really good discussion during our, our decision making process, our allocations process about what we want to see, what kind of flexibility we wanna maintain going into next year. Just really seeing how quickly the landscape changes was informative for me. So if anyone has ideas along that vein, I think we're running into that intersection of workforce development meets immediate need and how to best balance those two things unless someone can snap their fingers and bring 20 more million to no comment. Anyone have any thoughts, anything that they found, particularly Maya? I'm certainly not gonna pick on you, but to the extent you have questions, please feel free to jump in. I know we got you like right at the time that we're starting a new fiscal year. So this is the best and worst time to learn in a lot of ways. Okay. Did everyone get Leslie's email or did you I received did you say that to everybody?
Speaker 4 - 1:04:45 PM
I, I didn't, and I probably should have. It was late last night when I finally pushed it out. I'm on vacation, but I wanted to get that to everybody, so glad I can be here today. So it would be helpful if, if we could, but I'll just say that I, I looked mostly, well, while I was doing the process, I was taking notes about what I wished we had done relative to the application form itself, to the selection process. And there was one other category I had in there. And so it's, it may not be as relevant to the two questions that, that Rachel peed up here, but it does get into some information and some ways to help both the grantees and to us or the committee who's reading it, get a little bit more information. Some things that were frustrating to me over the years. Hopefully we can clean some of those up. I can pull, I can pull it up if I need to, if that would be helpful. But
Speaker 5 - 1:06:00 PM
We are forwarding it to the committee now and we'll include it in the minutes capturing this conversation. Much of your feedback is related to improvements we could make on specific items in the application form or process. There are a couple of bigger picture, more kind of strategic style questions, which I might flag for Commissioner Moore to help us think about during our funding philosophy conversation. For example, the handling of multi-year grants. That's been a topic that this committee has wrestled with, I think is probably fair.
Speaker 4 - 1:06:44 PM
That's a good
Speaker 5 - 1:06:44 PM
One to do more longer term funding and the constraints that exist that keep us from being successful at that. Right.
Speaker 4 - 1:06:53 PM
Speaker 5 - 1:06:53 PM
That we can have that better, better impact.
Speaker 4 - 1:06:59 PM
Right. Right.
Speaker 4 - 1:07:02 PM
And also I think sharing information as we've, we've completed five years of or whatever of giving out the grants, having a, a, a retro view of what's sort of gone on across each funding year, who we funded for, how much for what project, and whether they completed the project successfully or not, because we get so many repeat proposals. I, I think it would be helpful to know who those folks are and, and how much money we've invested in certain organizations and frankly how they performed with the resources they received. However, however, staff calibrates that performance review I think would be helpful to have it all in one place.