Financing Strategically

Local fees and special taxes are taxes that are levied in addition to state and federal taxes. This guide focuses primarily on state-level revenue generation strategies, but, in light of growing interest in local leadership for early childhood, it also describes some local efforts that are used to finance early childhood education. These local taxes are frequently property, sales, water, sewer, school, and occasionally income taxes. Funds generated in this way cover some community services, such as local education, and have been used for early childhood:[17]

  • Several counties in Florida, including Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Martin, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Pinellas, and St. Lucie, adopted a children’s special taxing district to create new funding for children’s services. This may include paying for improvements in the child care system, professional development opportunities, and other early childhood and child and family supports.[18]
  • In Oakland, California, a local measure was passed to set aside money to benefit children and youth. Oakland uses a portion of this money to fund several early childhood initiatives, including a mental health and development consultant model. This program includes support for consultation in the classroom and child-centered mental health consultation.[19]
  • The City of Seattle, Washington, passed a property tax levy called the Families and Education Levy. The program, administered by the city in collaboration with the Seattle School District, supports funding of programs for school-based and community support to assist with a parent-child home program, professional development opportunities for early care and education teachers, closing the achievement gap of vulnerable populations, and other supports for early learning.[20]
  • Texas allows local communities to impose a sales tax that can be used for local initiatives. San Antonio, for example, uses local tax dollars for a prekindergarten program.[21]

[17] Local taxes. (n.d.). In Business Dictionary. Retrieved from

[18] Florida Children’s Council. (n.d.). Florida Children’s Council homepage [Web site]. Retrieved from

[19] Oakland Fund for Children and Youth. (2014). Oakland kids first! 2013–2016 strategic investment plan. Retrieved from

[20] Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning. (n.d.). About the families and education levy. [Web page]. Retrieved from

[21] City of San Antonio. (n.d.). Pre-K 4 San Antonio. [Web page]. Retrieved from