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Investing in Pre-K

The Importance of High-Quality Pre-K in Mississippi

  • When children start school without important skills, it becomes harder and harder for them to achieve their potential without considerable intervention. These challenges can often lead children to face more severe issues, such as being retained ina grade, experiencing discipline troubles, and failing to finish high school. Mississippi must help families get their children ready to succeed in school.

Mississippi’s Investment in High-Quality Pre-K

  • In 2013, the State of Mississippi took a historic step by passing the Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013. The law established a collaborative delivery, a state-funded pre-K program in which private or parochial schools, private childcare centers, and/or Head Start centers may join with a local public school district and compete for state funds in order to provide pre-kindergarten services to a specific community. In the first cohort, 11 collaboratives were funded, representing the first-ever investment the State of Mississippi has made in pre-K. All funded collaboratives will adhere to state regulations requiring that they meet nationally recognized standards of quality. 

Costs for Providing Pre-K

  • Under the Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013, the costs for providing pre-kindergarten services to four-year-old children amount to $4,300 per child enrolled in full-day programs
    and $2,150 per child enrolled in half-day programs. The State of Mississippi provides half of these costs ($2,150 per child enrolled in full-day pre-K and $1,075 per child enrolled in half-day pre-K). However, the State requires that the other half being provided by local matching funds, which may include local tax dollars, federal dollars (as allowed), parent tuition, philanthropic contributions, or in-kind donations of facilities, equipment, and services required as part of the program, such as food service or health screenings.

What is the total amount of credits available for this tax year? 

  • The Mississippi Department of Revenue can approve 1:1 tax credits up to the amount the legislature appropriates to the Early Learning Collaborative Act each year. For the fiscal year 2020, the legislature appropriated $7.79 million; therefore, the sum of the donations in this calendar year eligible for the tax credit may not exceed $7.79 million.

The State Tax Credit

  • Individuals or corporations who make a contribution to support the local matching fund of an approved early learning collaborative may be eligible to receive a state tax credit for the donated amount up to $1 million.