Buncombe County commissioners approve funding for early childhood education

Buncombe County commissioners approved $3.6 million Tuesday night to create classrooms and teaching centers for early childhood education and also help create a pipeline to recruit and retain teachers. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Buncombe County commissioners approved $3.6 million Tuesday night in support of early childhood education.

There are more than 11,000 children who are 4 or younger in the county, but only a third of those are enrolled in an early childhood education program.

This more than $3 million investment will be used to create classrooms and teaching centers and will also help create a pipeline to recruit and retain early childhood teachers.

Many nonprofit organizations in support of early childhood education showed up to the commissioners meeting to speak before the board. Several of them expressed how the county is in a crisis when it comes to finding quality early childhood education.

Moving forward, the board of commissioners must now figure out where they’ll get that $3.6 million.

“We do this with all kinds of different issues, and we appropriate funding from the general fund. We can look at sources like the property taxes. We’re looking at potentially the Mission sale being finalized and additional property tax revenue coming online,” commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara said.

Beach-Ferrara said these funds will have a 13 percent return on investment. She also said this money will help alleviate some of the waiting lists for early childhood education centers.

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