Lake County’s Board of Commissioners recently approved a collaborative agreement with Douglas County Education Service District (ESD) in establishing an Early Learning Council hub.
The County took action on the matter during their Tuesday, Sept. 17, work session. The Early Learning Council (ELC) program is a governor-mandated transition related to early education that will supercede the program formerly known as the Commission on Children and Families.
Under the agreement, Lake County will serve as a cooperating agent with Douglas County, the latter of which will serve as a hub through which state funding will be channeled, said Ronne Lindsey, the Lake County CC&F director that is now working through this new transition.
As the hub, there will be a global early learning services budget established for both of the counties included under the agreement.
A request for applications was submitted to the state for recognition as of Tuesday, Oct. 1, Lindsey said, with formal approval expected by November. Upon formal approval, the hub is set to become functional as of Jan. 1, 2014, she said.
Until that formal recognition occurs, the state’s funding will continue to go through the Commission on Children and Families, which formally disbanded as of July 1 but continues to serve as the pass-thru agency in the meantime.
A goal of the ELC hubs is to reduce administrative costs, Lindsey said, with these savings expected to go directly into programs. There are up to 16 hubs expected when it’s all said and done, with seven chosen the first year and up to nine chosen the second year.
A major priority of the Early Learning Council concept is kindergarten readiness, Lindsay said, along with family stability.