Seattle Preschool Program
"There is nothing more morally important that I will do as Mayor in the next four years than creating a high-quality preschool program for three- and four-year-olds in Seattle." -Mayor Ed Murray
In September 2013, the Seattle City Council unanimously adopted Resolution 31478, which supports the goal of creating a program to make voluntary, high-quality preschool available and affordable to all of Seattle's 3- and 4-year-old children.
In May 2014, Mayor Murray and the Seattle City Council proposed a taxpayer-funded levy (Ordinance 124509) to support a four-year demonstration project. The Mayor also submitted a Seattle Preschool Program Action Plan that describes the demonstration project and the core guiding principles.
In November 2014, Seattle voters approved the demonstration project which will build toward serving 2,000 children in 100 classrooms by 2018. The Mayor is now working on a more detailed Implementation Plan to implement the Action Plan's core strategies, which will be reviewed and approved by the Seattle City Council.
- Participation will be voluntary for providers and participants.
- 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 (6 hours/day and 5 days/week).
- 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.
- Providers will be required to adopt the approved curricula.
- Priority will be given to providers that: provide more than two classrooms, provide dual language programs, offer before/after school child care, offer summer childcare, 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 approximately $48.40 per year.