Mayor Ed Murray wants to have voluntary, affordable, and high quality preschool classes available to all 3-and-4-year-olds in Seattle as early as fall 2015. On Thursday he’ll be at the Garfield Community Center to talk about his plan to get it done. And to prove the city really knows what parents of little ones need, dinner and childcare will be provided. The event starts at 6 PM, RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org with how many adults and kids you’ll be bringing.
The City Council’s “gap analysis” of pre-K needs was released in January and found that up to 37% of the city’s 12,300 3-and-4-year-olds were not enrolled in preschool education. Murray traveld to the East Coast in March to tour pre-K programs and learn from municipalities that have implemented universal preschool programs.
Given the well documented benefits of preschool, there’s little disagreement among Seattle’s elected officials that the city ought to ensure all kids have the opportunity to go. The challenge ahead is how to fund it. City council member Tim Burgess has put the number at anywhere from $8,000 – $17,000 per student per year.