(b) The secretary shall contract with an independent third-party evaluator to assist the department and the Quality Rating and Improvement System Advisory Council with establishing and evaluating the pilot project quality rating and improvement system and conducting research on statewide implementation. The secretary also may contract with the evaluator for ongoing evaluation and research for quality improvement. The evaluator shall have access to all project data including data in the management information system provided for in section two of this article.
(c) The secretary shall report annually to the Legislature on the progress on development and implementation of a child care quality rating and improvement system and its impact on improving the quality of child care in the state. The secretary may propose amendments to the rules and financial plan necessary to promote implementation of the quality rating and improvement system and improve the quality of child care and may recommend needed legislation. Nothing in this article requires the implementation of a quality rating and improvement system unless funds are appropriated therefore. The secretary may prioritize the components of the financial plan for implementation and quality improvement for funding purposes. If insufficient funds are appropriated for full implementation of the quality rating and improvement system beginning on July 1, 2011, the rules shall provide for gradual implementation over a period of several years.
(d) The Legislature recognizes that expenditures, especially one-time types of expenditures or expenditures of a limited duration, may be funded with moneys derived through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. A study of the cost of implementing a quality rating and improvement system statewide is expected to be conducted over the next two years.