(a) The Superintendent shall administer a QRIS block grant, pursuant to an appropriation made for that purpose in the annual Budget Act, to be allocated to local consortia for support of local early learning quality rating and improvement systems that increase the number of low-income children in high-quality preschool programs that prepare those children for success in school and life.
(b) (1) For purposes of this section, early learning quality rating and improvement system or QRIS is defined as a locally determined system for continuous quality improvement based on a tiered rating structure with progressively higher quality standards for each tier that provides supports and incentives for programs, teachers, and administrators to reach higher levels of quality, monitors and evaluates the impacts on child outcomes, and disseminates information to parents and the public about program quality.
(2) For purposes of this section, local consortium is defined as a local or regional entity, administered by a lead agency, that convenes a planning body that designs and implements a QRIS. A local consortium shall include representatives from organizations including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(A) Local educational agencies.
(B) First 5 county commissions.
(C) Local postsecondary educational institutions.
(D) Local child care planning councils.
(E) Local resource and referral agencies.
(F) Other local agencies, including nonprofit organizations, that provide services to children from birth to five years of age, inclusive.
(3) For purposes of this section, quality continuum framework means the tiered rating matrix created and adopted by a local consortium for purposes of implementing a QRIS. The tiered rating matrix shall include three common tiers shared by all participating local consortia. Changes to the common tiers shall be approved and adopted by all participating local consortia.
(c) The QRIS block grant shall build on local consortia and other local QRIS work in existence on or before the operative date of this section.
(d) For the 2014-15 fiscal year, if a county or region has an established local consortium that has adopted a quality continuum framework, the local consortium's lead administering agency shall be provided the first opportunity to apply for a QRIS block grant.
(e) Local consortia shall do all of the following to be eligible for a QRIS block grant:
(1) Implement a QRIS that incorporates evidence-based elements and tools in the quality continuum framework that are tailored to the local conditions and enhanced with local resources.
(2) Set ambitious yet achievable targets for California state preschool program contracting agencies' participation in the QRIS with the goal of achieving the highest common tier, as the tier existed on June 1, 2014, or a higher level of quality.
(3) Develop an action plan that includes a continuous quality improvement process that is tied to improving child outcomes.
(4) Describe how QRIS block grant funds will be used to increase the number of sites achieving the highest common local tier and to directly support classrooms that have achieved the highest common tier, as that tier existed on June 1, 2014, or a higher level of quality.
(f) The Superintendent, in consultation with the executive director of the state board, shall allocate QRIS block grant funds to local consortia that satisfy the requirements of subdivision (e) based on the number of California state preschool program slots within the county or region.
(g) (1) Local consortia receiving QRIS block grant funds shall allocate those funds to contracting agencies of the California state preschool program, as established by Article 7 (commencing with Section 8235), or local educational agencies, for activities that support and improve quality, and assess quality and access. In allocating the QRIS block grant funds, priority shall be given to directly supporting the classrooms of the California state preschool program sites that have achieved the highest common local tier of quality.
(2) No more than 20 percent of a local consortium's QRIS block grant funds may be used for assessment and access projects.
(h) A family child care home education network established pursuant to Section 8245 that provides California state preschool program services shall be eligible for an allocation from a local consortium of QRIS block grant funds for activities that support, improve, and assess quality.
(Added by Stats. 2014, Ch. 32, Sec. 2.)