Understanding the Workforce of the South Carolina Child Early Reading and Development Education Program
Jul 10, 2019
This report estimates the per-pupil cost for public and private providers to deliver the South Carolina Early Reading Development and Education Program (CERDEP), a state-funded preschool program for at-risk children. This analysis considers how costs vary by key program features (e.g., public versus private settings, teacher qualifications, geographic area) and how the per-pupil cost compares to the per-pupil reimbursement rate.
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The South Carolina Early Reading Development and Education Program (CERDEP) is a state-funded full-day four-year-old pre-kindergarten (4K) program for children at risk of not being ready to start kindergarten. Eligible children include those who live in districts with a score of 70 percent or higher on the state poverty index and whose family income is at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty guidelines or those eligible for Medicaid. The program is implemented using a mixed-delivery system, with both public schools and licensed private center–based providers able to serve eligible children.
Documenting and understanding the costs of CERDEP is necessary for education leaders in South Carolina to continue to deliver a high-quality 4K program. In the 2017–2018 school year, the focus of this report, the state reimbursed CERDEP providers $4,422 per pupil to cover the costs of instruction for a traditional 180-day school year, with 6.5 hours of instruction per day. Research indicates that the full cost of early childhood programs like CERDEP can be challenging and costly to estimate. States and early childhood leaders do not always know the true program costs when funding policies and mechanisms, such as per-pupil reimbursement rates, are put in place.
This report addresses the per-pupil cost to deliver CERDEP as of the 2017–2018 academic year and compares those estimates with the current instructional reimbursement rate provided by the state.
Provider-Based Information on CERDEP Costs
Model-Based Estimates of CERDEP Costs
Key Findings, Policy Considerations, and Recommendations
CERDEP History and Program Features
4K Reimbursement Mechanism Sources
Methods for Chapter 3 Cost Model
Data Collection Instruments
The research described in this report was sponsored by the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee and conducted by RAND Education and Labor.
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