FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/6/2015
City Council Approves Implementation Plan for Seattle Preschool Program
Legislation paves the way for opening of classrooms in September
SEATTLE – The City Council voted unanimously today to approve the Seattle Preschool Program Implementation Plan (C.B. 118363) today. The vote marks the last major milestone before the opening of the first classrooms this September.
The plan details the operational specifics of the program, including provider selection and student enrollment processes, tuition payment calculations, staff education supports, program evaluation, and instructor compensation, among other topics. The City will now initiate a competitive process to choose providers by the end of May.
“Every child in our city deserves a strong and fair start,” said Council President Tim Burgess. “The Seattle Preschool Program will make high-quality preschool available to thousands of our littlest learners. I’m grateful for the investment that voters have made in this program and I look forward to celebrating its launch in September.”
“We are committed to quality preschool for our youngest students from all across the city,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We will implement Seattle Preschool with an eye to equity of opportunity for all. Many thanks to Council President Burgess and the entire Council for quick action on our plan for a timely September launch for the first classrooms.”
The program will focus on placing classrooms in areas where public elementary schools have records of low academic achievement. It will prioritize the enrollment of four-year-olds over three-year-olds and will provide free tuition for families earning less than 300% of the Federal Poverty Level. Families with higher incomes will pay a progressively higher share based on a sliding scale.
After the voters approved the Seattle Preschool Program with 69% support last November, the City’s newly-formed Department of Education and Early Learning worked at a furious pace to write the detailed plan, convening public meetings, a community advisory committee, and an interagency group to inform the process.
During the Council’s consideration of the implementation plan, Councilmembers received the latest research on the benefits of preschool, heard from preschool providers and program partners from Seattle Public Schools and the Washington State Department of Early Learning, and reviewed analysis by Council staff.
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