§ 16-7.1-11. Early childhood investment fund.
The general assembly establishes the Early Childhood Student Investment Fund to provide schools and teaching staff for the early grades with resources to begin improving student performance and to provide early care and pre-kindergarten programs. The general assembly shall annually appropriate some sum and distribute it based on each district's proportion of their average daily membership for grades kindergarten through and including third grade in the reference year as defined in § 16-7-16 relative to the statewide average daily membership for the same grades in the same fiscal year. For purposes of this section, average daily membership for grades kindergarten through and including third grade is determined in § 16-7-22. These resources shall be used to close student performance gaps in accordance with the district's strategic plan pursuant to § 16-7.1-2. These early childhood investment funds shall be used in coordination with the literacy set-aside funds, chapter 67 of this title. In addition, these funds may be used for early childhood pilot programs, including Child Opportunity Zones (COZs), that; (1) combine and/or leverage some or all of the following state, federal and/or local funds insofar as allowable: student equity investment fund; literacy set-aside; special education funds; Title I funds; and any other appropriate funds; (2) that focus on beginning to improve student performance through developmentally appropriate early childhood education and integrated social and health service support. Funding emphasis for early childhood programs shall be given by the districts to the schools serving concentrations of at-risk students and shall be integrated with programs for special needs students; all day kindergarten programs may be funded; and school links shall be made with programs and students to facilitate full assessment of students' school readiness and needs prior to entry into first grade and to help receiving schools meet the entering child's needs. Programs shall include the development and expansion of child care providers, the development of innovative start-up arrangements linked to small businesses, the development of programs and providers in geographically underserved areas, the establishment of before and after school programs with priority to be given to programs linked to schools, to infant/toddler programs, programs related to child opportunity zone family centers, and programs that serve children with special health needs or developmental risks. A district may not fund any program that does not meet standards as established by the board of regents. Districts may contract for services with programs which meet board of regents standards. Any program that receives funds under this section must keep records on the children's attendance and progress so that data will be available to conduct longitudinal studies.
(P.L. 1997, ch. 30, art. 31, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 31, art. 31, § 1.)