- The Seattle Preschool Program Levy was proposed by Mayor Murray and the City Council.
- The Levy will support a four-year demonstration project.
- The City has also adopted a Seattle Preschool Program Action Plan that describes the demonstration project and the core guiding principles.
- The Plan is anchored in evidence-based practice, acknowledging that program quality is vital to success.
- If the levy is approved, the demonstration project will build toward serving 2,000 children in 100 classrooms by 2018.
- If it is approved, the Mayor would then propose a more detailed Implementation Plan to implement the Action Plan’s core strategies. The City Council would need to review and approve the Implementation Plan.
FAMILIES & STUDENTS
- Participation will be voluntary for providers and participants. All Seattle 4-year-olds will be eligible to apply.
- 3-year-olds who are from Seattle families making 300% of the federal poverty level and below will be eligible to apply.
- Tuition will be free for children from families earning less than 300% of the federal poverty level. Tuition will be on a sliding scale for families earning more than 300% of the federal poverty level with at least some level of subsidy for all families.
- Classrooms will operate on a full-day schedule (5 days/week and 6 hours/day) with priority given to providers offering before/after care and summers.
- The demonstration project includes funding to support facility renovations and improvements, and start up classrooms. Priority will be given to qualified community organizations and Seattle Public Schools and that meet the contracting guidelines set forth in the Action Plan.
- Providers would be required to adopt the approved curricula as detailed in the Implementation Plan.
- Teachers will receive on-site curriculum support and off-site training in areas of need, likely including: best practices in inclusion, bilingual education, cultural relevancy, and classroom management.
PROGRAM QUALITY & COMMUNITY NEEDS
- Preschool providers will need to meet the following criteria to participate in the levy-financed demonstration project: be licensed, agree to adhere to program standards and meet other evaluative criteria outlined in the Implementation Plan.
- Priority will be given to providers that: provide more than two classrooms, provide dual language programs, offer before/after school care, offer summer care, are located in neighborhoods with low academic achievement, and are located in neighborhoods with higher concentrations of low-income households, English Language Learners, and incoming kindergartners.
- A four-year, $58 million property tax levy (average annual cost of $14.5 million) would cost the owner of a $440,000 home $48.40 per year or $4.04 per month.