Item Coversheet



TO: Finance and Economic Resiliency Committee Members

Jimmy L. Morales, City Manager

DATE: May 22, 2020



Since the Education Compact implementation on January 16, 2008, the City of Miami Beach has collaborated with The School Board of Miami-Dade County, FL to improve educational opportunities for youth in the City.  The Miami Beach City Commission executed an Interlocal Agreement on February 18, 2016 to provide funding to MDCPS for two prekindergarten classes (VPK) for eligible City of Miami Beach residents at Miami Beach Fienberg Fisher K-8 and Biscayne Beach Elementary.    On April 11, 2018, the Mayor and City Commission adopted Resolution 2018-30259 removing the VPK classroom at Fienberg Fisher K-8 and reducing the funding to Biscayne Beach Elementary for VPK to an amount not to exceed $35,000 for the personnel costs contingent on MDCPS funding the remaining costs. 


VPK services offered at Biscayne Beach Elementary school may be accessed by City of Miami Beach resident children from the four targeted schools (South Pointe Elementary, Fienberg Fisher K-8, North Beach Elementary, and Biscayne Beach Elementary) following the registration and lottery procedures established by MDCPS. 


For the 2019-20 school year, there are nine (9) VPK classes available through MDCPS at four (4) elementary schools.   The enrollment capacity for these nine VPK classes is 180 youth.   Per MDCPS, there are 180 VPK students enrolled in these classes yielding a 100 percent utilization.  All VPK programs receive state COE funding at $2,473.20 per student per MDCPS (Attachment A).


Historically, few children in the United States were enrolled in Pre-K programs, but that began to change in the 1980s.   Today, most children spend time in a center-based classroom before they enter kindergarten.  In 2017-18, 44 states and the District of Columbia spent more than $8.15 billion on preschool.   State spending per child varied widely across the states, with the gap between the highest and lowest even larger.   At the high end, the District of Columbia spent $17,545 per child.   New Jersey spent more than $10,000 per child.   At the low end, five states spent less than $3,000 per child (Mississippi, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado, and South Carolina).  This is many more times more unequal than state spending on K-12 education. 

Four states stand out as leaders in providing universal access to voluntary preschool (VPK) for 4-year-old:  The District of Columbia, Florida, Vermont, and Oklahoma (Attachment B).  Each of these four states serve more than three quarters of the state’s 4-year-olds in state-funded preschool, and approximately 85% of 4-year-olds across state-funded preschool, preschool special education, and Head Start. 

Florida services 4-year-olds with parents choosing either a school-year (540 instructional hours) or summer program (300 hours).   Most children attend the part day school year program.    While Florida’s program reaches more than three-quarters of 4-year-olds, resources are limited as the state spends only $2473.00 per child in 2018-19 during the school year (Attachment C).   Florida meets only 2 of the quality standards benchmarks per the National Institute of Early Education Research (Attachment D). 

VPK is provided in a variety of setting such as public schools, accredited nonpublic schools, licensed child care centers, accredited faith-based centers, and licensed family child care homes.  Most children attend VPK in nonpublic school settings.  Regional early learning coalitions monitor programs for compliance and administer VPK, distributing funding based on a fixed hourly rate.  Programs are required to meet the Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards for Four-Year-Olds.  The State Board of Education is required to establish a minimum kindergarten readiness rate to assess delivery of the VPK Education Program by providers and schools.  All providers are required to administer the Florida VPK assessment at the beginning and end of the school year, with results used as a pre- and post-assessment to demonstrate learning gains.

Florida Voluntary Prekindergarten Program (VPK) statistics (2018):

Total state pre-K enrollment                                       174,574 (2018)

School districts that offer state program                    100% (counties)

Income requirement                                                    No income requirement

Minimum hours of operation                                         Determined locally

Operating schedule                                                       Determined locally


Quality Standards Checklist (FL Pre-K Requirement)

Early Learning & Development standards - Comprehensive, aligned, supported, culturally sensitive

Curriculum supports – approval process & supports

Teacher degree – BA (summer), CDA or equivalent & training (school year)

Teacher specialized training – ECE, CDC, Elem. Ed (summer); CDE (school year)

Assistant teacher degree – none

Staff Professional Development – 15 hours/hear; individual PD plans/ coaching

Maximum class size – 12 (summer); 20 (school year)

Staff-child ratio – 1:12 (summer); 1:11 or 2:12-20 (school year)

Continuous quality improvement system – structured classroom observations; data used to improve


Voluntary Prekindergarten Accreditation

According to Section (s.) 1..2.55 (3)(b), Florida Statutes (F.S.), to be eligible to offer VPK, private providers must either (Attachment E)

  • Be licensed as a child care facility under s. 402.305, F.S., family day care home under s. 402.313, F.S., or large family child care facility under s. 402.313, F.S.; or

  • Be licensed exempt under s. 402.3025(2), F.S. (for nonpublic schools) or s. 402.316, F.S. (for faith-based providers), and

    • Hold a Gold Seal Quality Care designation (Attachment F) under s. 402.281, F,S,; Each agency must apply for Gold Seal with Department of Children and Families;

    • Or be accredited by an accrediting association that is a member of

      • National Council for Private School Accreditation

      • The Florida Association of Academic Nonpublic Schools;

  • Or be accredited by

    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

    • Western Association of Colleges and Schools

    • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

    • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

    • New England Association of Colleges and Schools

City of Miami Beach VPK Providers per the Early Learning Coalition (Attachment G)

Per the Early Learning Coalition (ELC), there are approximately 23 VPK providers in the 33140, 33141, and 33139 zip codes serving 389 children.   There are additional childcare centers and private schools not on the ELC list that also provide similar services.   Parental fees and operating hours are unique to each entity.

Parental Fee Estimates

Currently two Miami Beach public elementary schools—North Beach Elementary and Miami Beach Pointe Elementary—participate in Miami Dade County Public Schools’ fee-supported Pre-Kindergarten Enrichment program. These two VPK classes provide the State funded program from 8:20 a.m. to 11:20 a.m., followed by the parental fee supported program from 11:20 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. For the 2019-2020 school year (180 days of service) the parental fee for the extended hours beyond those funded by the State is $15 per day, or $6 per hour for 2.5 hours. Those families who are eligible for free or reduced lunch pay a fee of $12 per day, or $4.80 per hour for 2.5 hours (see chart below).

Miami Beach Public School VPK fees


Number of hours

Hourly cost

540 hr/ 180 days

Florida VPK




MDCPS fee-supported Pre-K




MDCPS fee-supported Pre-K (free or reduced lunch)





Financial Aid/Fee Reduction Consideration

The City of Miami Beach Parks and Recreation department provides financial aid and/or fee reductions to eligible Miami Beach residents who demonstrate the need for financial assistance in order to participate in Recreation programs.  Applicants must complete and submit a financial aid application with verification of income to determine financial aid eligibility and tuition reduction percentage as follows:

  • Tier 1 Financial Aid/Fee Reduction (100% tuition):  Three of the following

  • Tier 2 Financial Aid/Fee Reduction (75% tuition):  Two of the following

  • Tier 3 Financial Aid/Fee Reduction (50% tuition): One of the following

Documents to be provided:

  • TANF Benefits Award Letter

  • Medicaid Coverage

  • Food Stamps

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Award Letter

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Award Letter

  • Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher

  • Housing Assistance Voucher

If none of the above documents is available, applicants can submit their most recently filed Federal Tax Return for consideration.  Registration for program access is done through a RecTrac software that can be modified for registration for other programs.


T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Scholarship Program (Attachment H)

The T.E.A.C.H program links training, compensation, and commitment to improving the quality of early care and education.  It also provides scholarships for early childhood teachers and facility/family home directors to work toward earning an Associate, Bachelor’s or master’s degree in early childhood education, a Florida Staff Credential, a Director Credential, a National CDE Assessment, or credential renewals.   Most importantly, the program involves a partnership for the sharing of expenses by the scholar, the sponsoring childcare program, and the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Scholarship Program.


Associate Degree: Early Childhood for Center Teacher




80% Tuition

10% Tuition

10% Tuition

90% Books


10% Books

$125 Stipend per semester

3 hours paid release time for participants working 30+ hours per week


$10.46/hour release time reimbursement to center




Turnover rates in early care and education are between 30-40% nationally.  For Florida T.E.A.C.H. scholars, the turnover rate is approximately 6%.   Scholars who complete a contract with T.E.A.C.H. make a commitment to stay with the center that sponsored them for up to a year following completion of their contract.

Miami Beach Public School Enrollment

The below chart provided information on student enrollment at six public schools located in Miami Beach from 2008 to 2019.   The percentage change from 2009 to 2019 reflects an overall 5 % increase, with specific shifts in population reflected for each school.


City Initiatives

According to Pre-K American Cities, most of the social determinants of education and health that characterize the gaps between the rich and everyone else, and between whites and people of color, result in a learning gap that is generated before children ever walk through the kindergarten door.  Over the past decade, a number of high-profile city initiatives have emerged to focus on improving quality and access to early childcare such as:

  • Boston’s mayoral initiative funds a proven-effective program for all income levels and ethnic groups

  • New York City’s universal provision for 4-year-olds and proposed program for 3-year-olds is provided through a combination of federal, state, and local funds

  • Philadelphia’s program is funded by a tax on sugary drinks

  • San Antonio’s Pre-K 4 used a sales tax initiative

  • Seattle Preschool program is levy-funded

Each of the above municipal initiatives is focused on early learning for school readiness, positive development, and lifelong health, combined with concerns about the inequality of access to Pre-K, the high cost of good Pre-K programs and potential urban flight.


The administration is providing the following information for consideration of funding for Pre-K program expansion for Miami Beach residents at Miami Beach childcare facilities:

  • Hourly rate for VPK State funding is $4.58 per hour and MDCPS parental fee supported of $6.00 per hour will results in a projected cost per child for an additional 5 hours of service per day for 180 school days of between $4,122 to $5,400 per child.

  • To ensure Miami Beach providers have fully qualified and supported teachers, provide support to center staff who participate in the T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship program by covering the 10% of staff/scholar cost for college classes to earn an Associates Degree in early childhood for up to 9 credits per year at the rate of $8.73 per credit at $78.57 (10% of 9 credits) per eligible staff member/scholar.

Applicable Area

Not Applicable
Is this a "Residents Right to Know" item, pursuant to City Code Section 2-14? Does this item utilize G.O. Bond Funds?
No No 

Strategic Connection

Prosperity - Be known for (K-12) educational excellence.
Attachment AMemo
Attachment BMemo
Attachment CMemo
Attachment DMemo
Attachment EMemo
Attachment FMemo
Attachment GMemo
Attachment HMemo