In the News

Quality Pre-K Continues to Grow with Philadelphia Beverage Tax Funds

Funded by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, PHLpreK has provided free pre-K for more than 16,000 of the city’s three- and four-year-olds since it’s inception in 2017. This school year, PHLpreK launched with more providers and seats than ever; the program is ready to serve 5,250 students throughout the city. Mayor Jim Kenney joined students to celebrate the eighth year of this transformative program, read the full story here.

San Antonio’s Pre-K 4 SA Featured in Recent Publication

In a new book, Recent Perspectives on Preschool Education and Care, published by IntechOpen, researchers and scholars discuss early childhood education across the globe. The municipality-funded early childhood initiative in San Antonio, Texas—Pre-K 4 SA is showcased in the chapter Community Approaches to Funding and Supports for High-Quality Early Care Experiences: A United States Example.

The chapter details how Pre-K 4 SA demonstrates a cross-sector perspective to leveraging funds based on local community resources and create long lasting impacts for its citizens and concludes with recommendations for increasing access to high-quality early care experiences in other contexts and environments. Authors include Larrisa-lei Wilkinson of Pre-K 4 SA; Emily Diaz, PhD, and Lauren Decker-Woodrow, PhD, of Westat; and Sarah Baray, PhD, of Pre-K 4 SA. Read the full news story here and download the chapter for free here.

Buncombe County Budget Prioritizes Early Childhood Education

Buncombe County’s recently approved $603 million budget for fiscal year 2024 includes an investment of $3,892,756 for early childhood education. Commissioners have named early childhood and development among their top priorities for community investments in an effort to ensure that every child in the County has an equal opportunity to thrive during their first 2,000 days. The funding will be distributed to 16 organizations supporting 21 programs, read more about the spending plan here.

Mecklenburg County 2024 Budget Prioritizes Early Childhood Development

On June 6, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners adopted the County’s budget for Fiscal Year 2024. The budget totals $2.36 billion and sets a property tax rate of 47.31 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.  The Board’s current priorities include early childhood development, educational attainment, environmental stewardship, health access, housing insecurity, workforce development and racial disparities. The budget allocates over $2 million to early childhood development as follows:

  • $1.1 million for N.C. Pre-K. This funding matches the Meck Pre-K rate at $900 per child, exceeding the state rate, for N.C. Pre-K programs in community-based child development centers.
  • $350,000 for a project manager and consulting services to develop an implementation plan for the pre-natal to 3 strategic plan.
  • Additional investments of $603,000 support five positions for the Women, Infants and Children’s Program, a child development audiologist, and early literacy programming at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library.

Read the full news release here.

Multnomah County Preschool for All Slots Double in FY 2024

The Board of Commissioners in Multnomah County, OR recently approved a $3.6 billion spending plan for Fiscal Year 2024. The Board primarily decided where to spend $872 million in General Fund dollars as well as where to direct $22.74 million in the County’s last allocation of federal American Rescue Plan dollars. The budget includes $87.3 million for the Preschool for All operating budget. This investment doubles the number of slots to 1,400 for the county’s universal preschool program’s second year of operation. The spending plan also includes $17 million dollars for the Preschool for All facilities fund to help build infrastructure to reach access for all families who want preschool by 2030. Read more about the FY 2024 budget here.


The Children’s Funding Project releases its 2023 Spring Ballot Measure Recap

On May 30th, The Children’s Funding Project published it’s 2023 Spring Ballot Measure Recap featuring recent financing achievements in communities in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.

In Anchorage, Alaska, voters approved a ballot measure that funnels retail marijuana sales tax to child care and early education programs. In King County, WA, a tax levy has passed that will fund the construction and operation of five new mental health crisis centers, including one dedicated to children and teens. In Portland, OR, residents voted to renew the Portland Children’s Levy for the fourth time which funds comprehensive children’s services including early childhood programs, mentoring, after-school programs, and more.

Click here to read the complete report and learn more about the ballot measures passed to secure dedicated funding to support children.

Philadelphia’s Beverage Tax Found to Positively Affect Maternal and Infant Health

In 2016, the City Council implemented the Philadelphia Beverage Tax (PBT) to fund a free pre-K program (PHLpreK) and several other educational and neighborhood revitalization initiatives. Seven years later, researchers have discovered that the tax is also having positive effects on maternal and infant health. A study conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, examined data from 2013 to 2019 in five cities with sugary beverage taxes and found that pregnant women were 41% less likely to develop gestational diabetes. Researchers also found that pregnant women in these cities were 7.9% less likely to experience unhealthy weight gain and 39% less likely to give birth to small babies of gestational age. The benefits of the sugary drinks tax were most pronounced in Philadelphia, likely due to the city taxing the drinks at a higher rate than the others included in the study. Read the full story here.

Data Shows That Seattle’s Preschool Program Is A Wise Investment

The Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) is preparing to open applications for the 2023-24 school year and announces expansions across the region. The program provides high-quality early learning experiences, including pre-kindergarten, to Seattle children, and according to the Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL), “seventy-four to eighty percent of SPP families over the entire eight-year tenure of the program are tuition free. The other twenty to twenty-five percent, those families making $150,000.00 or more are providing with tuition subsidies.”

At 90 sites across the city, the program’s well-trained and culturally diverse staff and resources provide families and their young students with an enhanced educational experience. In 2021-2022, 32% of Black/African American kindergarteners in Seattle Public Schools had participated in SPP. According to DEEL, 63% of the program’s participants were kindergarten ready. and Black and Asian SPP participants were more likely to be kindergarten-ready than their non-SPP peers. Read our case study about SPP and the full news story here.

Louisville Mayor Looks to Cincinnati Preschool Promise to Create Universal Pre-K

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg is looking to tap the knowledge and experience of the Cincinnati Preschool Promise for this Kentucky “sister city.” Starting in November 2016, Cincinnati voters approved, and in 2020 renewed, a property tax referendum to dedicate $15 million/per year to create and then a expand quality preschool called the Preschool Promise.

Louisville mayor Aftab Pureval and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear agree that making Pre-K accessible for all 3-and-4-year-old’s in the city is their goal.  Read our case study about the success of the Cincinnati Promise and the full Kentucky story here.