HB 1777 would establish the early learning facilities revolving account, to leverage local and private resources to enable early childhood education and assistance program contractors and child care providers to expand, remodel, or construct early learning facilities and classrooms necessary to support state-funded early learning opportunities for low-income children. The bill would require the department of early learning, in consultation with stakeholders, to review existing licensing standards related to facility requirements to eliminate potential barriers to licensing. It would require the department of commerce to: (1) In consultation with the department of early learning, oversee the early learning facilities revolving account; (2) Act as the lead state agency for early learning facilities grant and loan program development; (3) Expend money from the account to provide state matching funds for grants or loans to provide classrooms necessary for children to participate in the early childhood education and assistance program and working connections child care; (4) Monitor performance of the grant and loan program; and (5) Convene a committee of early learning facilities experts to advise the department regarding the prioritization methodology of grant applications for certain projects. Additionally it would require the department to provide a list of: (1) Activities eligible for funding through the account; and (2) Organizations eligible to receive grants or loans. The bill states that the department must convene a committee of early learning facilities experts and stakeholders to advise the department on the prioritization methodology of grant applications for projects.
The substitute bill adds the purchase of early learning facilities as an eligible use of ELFRA funds. Local governments are added as eligible organizations to receive ELFRA funding.