Last September, the King County Council approved the Implementation Plan for Investment of Puget Sound Taxpayer Accountability Account (PSTAA) proceeds. This investment aims to promote equitable outcomes in education by investing in:
- Early learning facilities for the youngest learners in our region;
- A King County Promise strategy to support older youth through postsecondary completion; and,
- A pilot project called Love and Liberation, which helps Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) youth strengthen their sense of racial and/or ethnic identity.
This month, PSTAA celebrates its first year of implementation. The PSTAA team is thrilled to share about some recent milestones as well as some upcoming opportunities!
King County Promise
Implementation for King County Promise (KCP), a public-private partnership based on the national College Promise model and adapted locally through a three-year collaborative design process led by the Puget Sound College and Career Network (PSCCN), will be launching this fall, with student programing slated to start in fall 2022. Through KCP, young people will receive support to access and complete postsecondary pathways of their choice, expanding their career opportunities and strengthening their future earning potential. This strategy also focuses on aligning systems and policies to reduce common barriers that students face.
DCHS’ Children, Youth, and Young Adults (CYYA) division will release Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for partnerships seeking funding to implement KCP – Phase 1 in October 2021. King County high schools/K-12 districts, community & technical colleges, and community-based organizations will be eligible to receive funding to operate as seamless, equity-focused Promise Partnerships that support the needs of students. To learn more about the KCP vision and model and to access recorded KCP info sessions, visit PSCCN’s website.
Prior to the RFP release, interested entities can engage in work sessions led by PSCCN. In these sessions, participants can expect to learn about KCP’s common design elements and to hear implementation details. Register for a work session here.
Early Learning Facilities
PSTAA’s Early Learning Facilities (ELF) strategy continues to build the framework to increase access to high-quality child care opportunities for King County’s youngest residents, particularly in areas where access to child care is extremely limited.
DCHS is excited to join forces with Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise), which was selected this summer to oversee the ELF’s General Child Care Facilities Fund and manage major early learning construction projects. Enterprise will provide grants, loan funding, and technical support to help early learning providers navigate the development process.
Enterprise anticipates launching this investment through a competitive process in December 2021. Entities throughout King County with an interest in receiving funding for renovation, expansion, purchase, long-term lease, or new construction will be eligible to apply. This fund will also support related activities such as planning, feasibility, and pre-design work.
Additionally, DCHS’ Housing Homelessness and Community Development (HHCD) division plans to launch an RFP process in November 2021 that will support family child care businesses. Home-based early learning providers will be eligible to apply for up to $75,000 to support repairs and improvements. These investments will result in the creation and retention of child care slots and/or attainment of State of Washington licensure, Early Achievers designation, or another type of national accreditation.
DCHS and Enterprise are working together on an outreach strategy to build awareness of these incredible opportunities. More information will be available in the coming months.
Love & Liberation
PSTAA also supports an exciting community innovation, the Love and Liberation (L & L) pilot. This effort is led by the Racial Equity Coalition (REC), with support from United Way of King County, and provides a variety of youth development opportunities that center positive racial and ethnic identity development. Additionally, this project is testing new, collaborative decision-making methods that include participatory allocation of resources.
Over the past six months, PSTAA funds enabled the 14 BIPOC organizations that make up the REC to maintain or grow staff despite the economic hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They worked to respond to community needs by providing emergency funds to youth & families, including technology equipment loans, school supplies, grocery assistance, and financial assistance.
REC organizations served BIPOC youth, mostly in South King County, and provided culturally responsive programming through multiple strategies. This included providing language access supports & resources, hiring staff that reflected the community they serve, and shifting program content to respond to youth interests and needs. Programming encompassed topics such as self-care, community wellness, cultural identity, advocacy, and peer connection.
Additionally, REC members partnered with DCHS’ Performance Measurement and Evaluation (PME) team to create an evaluation plan, where they identified performance measures and data points that they would be collecting to show the impact of this investment over time.
What is PSTAA?
PSTAA was created by the Washington State Legislature and directs that Sound Transit 3-related funds be used to improve educational outcomes. Between 2019 and 2034, DCHS expects to receive $318 million in PSTAA funds. Per King County Council’s directive, these funds will support investment in early learning facilities, K-12 community-based supports as well as college, career, and technical education.