During a Tuesday meeting, members of a Preschool Promise committee will discuss some of the specifics on how to fund a Cincinnati preschool expansion program. The group wants to assure that every child in the community has access to two years of excellent preschool.
They hope to make a final funding decision by the end of April. Here are their options:
- A property tax levy on the November ballot.
- A joint property tax levy on the November ballot with Cincinnati Public Schools.
- An earnings tax.
- A property tax levy and an earnings tax (the earnings tax could come later).
Educators say the need for affordable, high quality preschool in Cincinnati is great. This fall, Cincinnati Public Schools will increase the number of preschool seats from 1,200 to 1,500.
But there are 9,000 three and four-year-olds in Cincinnati. Preschool Promise advisor Greg Landsman says there are existing programs and some state and federal funding, but it's not enough. "There will be a levy. There's no question that Cincinnati Public is going to ask voters for new money."
The Amos Project held a public meeting Sunday afternoon to find out how the expanded preschool should be funded. Director Troy Jackson says, "I think right now we're trying to figure out what's the best path forward and if we can come up with a plan that the Amos people and congregations and leadership agree to that would result in a shared levy, we are very amenable to that."
The Amos Project is one of many groups Preschool Promise is working with. According to Landsman, "It's always better for children when adults are working together on their behalf and I think that's the opportunity in front of us over the next couple of years."
The possible levy amount is unclear.
Representatives of the business community have been looking over CPS' books to confirm the levy need as well as cost-saving opportunities.