Seattle Pre-K Initiative

Early Childhood Education
4:57 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Seattle Voters Must Choose Between Mayor's Pre-K Program, Union-Backed Childcare Plan

Kyle Stokes

Two proposals dealing with early childhood learning will appear on Seattle ballots this November, but only one can win.

That's the electoral scenario Seattle City Council members set up Monday with their vote to put a proposed preschool pilot program on the November ballot, formally asking voters to hike property taxes to join cities like Denver and Boston in funding an early childhood education program aimed at low-income families.

But voters will have to make a choice. They can approve either the pilot program or Initiative 107, a union-backed citizens' initiative that raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour for more than 4,000 childcare workers and creates a training program for early childhood educators. 

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Early Childhood Education
3:45 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Seattle City Council Delays Preschool Vote After New Ballot Initiative Comes To Light

Preschool students in Beacon Hill cut up local, organic red potatoes on May 4, 2011. The potatoes are part of an effort to get more fresh produce into childcare and senior sites.
Charla Bear KPLU

The Seattle City Council on Monday delayed a vote on a proposed preschool expansion plan following last week's announcement that a separate referendum had gained enough signatures to appear on the November ballot.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray asked the council to hold off and study how Initiative 107, a "potentially competing proposal," would impact the chances of the preschool pilot program city leaders had also hoped to put before voters in the next general election.

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Early Childhood Education
5:00 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Seattle Voters May See More Than One Preschool Measure On November Ballot

Pre-K students use electronic tablets in San Antonio, another city that has made a city-wide early childhood education push.
Eric Gay AP Photo

Seattle City Council members appear ready to approve two preschool-related ballot items for this November's ballot. 

The council will likely vote at its Monday meeting to ask Seattle voters to approve a package Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess has been pushing for the past year: a preschool pilot program funded by a four-year, $58 million property tax hike.

But council members will also likely certify that a separate, union-backed initiative has received enough signatures to go to the voters. If approved, Initiative 107 would hike the minimum wage to $15 an hour for more than 4,000 childcare workers and create a training program for early childhood educators.

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Early Childhood Education
5:00 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Survey: Most Seattle Kids Enrolled In Pre-K, But Not As Many Attend Full-Time

Pre-kindergarten teaching assistant Mirna Ayala, left, and teacher Laura Amling, right, work with their 3-year-old students to draw an alphabet shape at Powell Elementary School in Washington, D.C.
Cliff Owen AP Photo

Most Seattle parents put their kids in preschool, but only one-third of the city's children attend full time and — according to results of a citywide survey of 1,300 parents released Tuesday — black and Latino families especially struggle to afford pre-K services. 

The results of the city-commissioned poll come less than a week before City Council members get their first look at legislation that would place a four-year, $58 million property tax question before voters this November that would eventually fund 2,000 pre-K slots in the city if approved.

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Early Childhood Education
5:00 am
Thu May 22, 2014

As Seattle Mulls Pre-K Program, We Ask: Why Require Teachers To Have B.A.'s?

In this April 30, 2014 photo, children in Erin Kling's, right, pre-kindergarten class recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the school day at Stafford Elementary School in Tacoma, Washington.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Here's a bitter pill preschool teachers must often swallow: they could probably make more money by teaching kids who are just one year older.

The average Washington state preschool instructor makes $28,400 annually — half of what he or she could earn teaching kindergarten. In public school settings, a kindergarten teacher takes home $53,800 every year to a pre-K teacher's $44,700. It makes it harder to lure the best teachers into preschool jobs, or keep them beyond their first few often-rocky years in the classroom.

"I think early childhood is often more attractive than the higher grades for many [teachers], and the pay is so low it still keeps them away," said Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research.

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Early Childhood Education
5:00 am
Wed May 21, 2014

As Seattle Mulls Pre-K Program, We Ask: What's The Long-Term Cost?

File image
Eric Gay AP Photo

 

"Lattés cost more," said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of the property tax hike homeowners would see on their monthly bills if voters approve his proposal to expand the city's preschool services.

Under the proposed four-year, $58 billion tax hike, Murray says the average Seattle homeowner would pay an extra $3.60 in property taxes each month to fund a pilot project serving 2,000 mostly low-income preschool-age kids.

City leaders hope the program will eventually serve even some middle-class preschoolers in the future. But that will cost more money, and Murray isn't clear yet on from where that funding will come.

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Early Childhood Education
5:00 am
Tue May 20, 2014

As Seattle Mulls Pre-K Program, We Ask: What Impact Does Early Learning Have?

File image
Eric Gay AP Photo

Some children have never held a pencil or a pair of scissors when they start the year in teacher DaZanne Davis Porter's kindergarten class.

They enter her classroom at Seattle's Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary at the beginning of the year and "cannot recognize any letters, any colors, any numbers, any shapes," Davis Porter said. "By the end of the year, they are [expected] to be reading."

"When you're starting the journey behind," she asked, "do they ever catch up?"

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Early Childhood Education
4:57 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

If Seattle Creates Preschool Program, Multilingual Providers Would Have Leg Up

Kyle Stokes KPLU

If Seattle voters approve a property tax hike to expand preschool access, the program would start small, paying for a handful of providers to teach a little more than a dozen classrooms of students in its first year.

How will the city choose those few providers? Those teaching preschool kids in multiple languages have a better chance of getting picked.

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Education Funding
12:27 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Seattle Mayor Proposes Property Tax Levy To Fund Preschool For Low-Income Families

FILE - In this April 5, 2012, photo, pre-school students Molly Kiniry, 4, left, Imani Workcuff, 4, upper right, and Lyvia Pham, 4, lower right, build "castles" with building sticks at the Refugee and Immigrant Family Center in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has proposed a property tax levy to increase low-income children's access to preschool.

Murray is asking voters to approve a four-year, $58 million property tax hike to enroll 2,000 children in 100 classrooms by the year 2018. The plan would cost the average homeowner $43.36 per year, or $3.61 per month, the mayor said.

"I believe that giving all of our children a fair and equal chance to thrive in school, to live productive and prosperous lives, is, again, the most important thing I will ever do as mayor, and it's the most important thing my fellow council members will do as council members," Murray said during a Thursday press conference. 

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