In the News
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.
Multnomah County Preschool for All Tax Revenue Higher than Estimated
When Multnomah County taxpayers voted in 2020 to fund preschool through income tax, advocates across the country looked to this Oregon community as a model for raising dedicated revenue. The income tax is levied on earners making $125,000 or more annually. While there are still taxpayers that have not paid for 2021, the tax already has brought in sixty percent more than the $120 million expected for the first year. Read our case study here and the big news here.
Children’s Funding Project Releases Case Study on New Orleans’ Early Childhood Education Millage
On April 30, 2022, New Orleans residents voted to overwhelmingly pass the Early Education Property Tax Measure 61% to 39%. The property tax levy, coupled with state matching funds, will provide early childhood education to 2,000 children from low-income households annually and nearly cut in half the number of infants and toddlers in New Orleans from low-income families without access to quality early care and education.
Children’s Funding Project, a nonprofit social impact organization that helps communities and states expand equitable opportunities for children and youth through strategic public financing, recently released a case study on this success. Read the Case Study here.
Forsyth County Approves $3.7M in ARPA Funds to Expand Pre-K Programs
At its Sept. 22, 2022 meeting, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners approved $3.7 million in ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds for Smart Start of Forsyth County on behalf of The Pre-K Priority, a collaborative of more than 80 Pre-K leaders and advocates in the county. The grant will fund a two-year project supporting 30 Pre-K classrooms with specific high-quality resources and will impact 540 Pre-K students as well as 60 Pre-K educators. The Pre-K Priority collaborative outlined six primary outcomes they expect to achieve with the funding:
- Establish a high-quality Pre-K foundation using the project’s model cohort of 30 Pre-K classrooms and educators;
- address challenges within the Pre-K landscape and set standards for future expansion;
- maximize the unique strengths and collaborative effectiveness of Forsyth County’s early childhood education partners;
- invest in the development and retention of Pre-K educators through coaching, technical assistance and salary parity within the project’s 30-classroom cohort to help inform scaling those aspects across the full Pre-K landscape;
- support parents and families of the cohort classrooms using evidence-based programs and engaging Family Advocates/Specialists; and
- track outcomes, monitor fidelity of implementation and develop an integrated data system to connect early childhood education networks in the community.
Red, Blue and Purple States. Majority of Voters Want More Investments in Pre-K
With growing calls from voters for states to provide greater access to early learning programs such as prekindergarten, more states are answering the call. And they may not be the states you assume are out in front.
States with at least seventy percent of four-year-olds enrolled in prekindergarten:
- West Virginia
- District of Columbia
States with at least forty-five percent of four-year-olds enrolled in prekindergarten:
- New Mexico
- New York
- South Carolina
Bipartisan support for early learning investments is now at an all time high. A First Five Years Fund 2021 national poll showed 84% support of voters surveyed support making preschool more available by providing it at no cost to all three- and four-year-olds whose parents want to send them.
Read the full story from Education Week.
Philadelphia Mayor: If you’re ever having a bad day and want to uplift your day, go visit a pre-K.
Since 2017, a beverage sales tax in Philadelphia has funded the PHLpreK program for 3-and-4-year-olds, and upgraded recreation centers and libraries across the city. Sugar sweetened drinks are taxed 1.5-cents per ounce tax on beverage distribution, including syrups and concentrates. Between 2017 and 2021, the tax has raised $330 million for these programs.
Elizabeth Gaines, CEO of the Children’s Funding Project spoke with Mayor Jim Kenney who championed the passage of the tax by the City Council in 2016. He reflected on the strategy to pass the legislation, efforts to overturn it and its positive impact on children. Read Gaines’ interview with Mayor Kenney here.
Our case study provides advocates the details about the efforts to pass the soda tax, including the challenges, keys to success and the results to date.
Does your state allow ballot initiatives?
The National Conference of State Legislatures provides information and resources about states that allow citizen initiative and popular referendum; the processes; and a searchable ballot measure database from the1800s through the present by state, topic, keyword, year, status or primary sponsor.
Preview Six 2022 Ballot Measures for Funding Children’s Programs
The Children’s Funding Project previews ballot initiatives across the country for children’s programs from Missouri to New Mexico. Victories in November will dedicate millions of dollars to kids for child care to mental health services and more. Revenue to fund these programs will come from a variety of methods: Increases in property taxes, sales tax, a budget set aside, two parcel tax measures – including one levying funds from commercial property and utilizing funds from a land grant fund that flows from oil and gas companies using public land. Learn more …