Cincinnati Preschool Promise
11:01 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Preschool Promise plan could save big dollars, study finds

Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education President Eileen Cooper-Reed signs the Cincinnati Preschool Promise following a news conference at Riverview East Academy in April, 2013.
Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU

A University of Cincinnati study suggests Cincinnati could save $48 million if its Preschool Promise plan is successful.

The UC Economics Center report finds the economic benefit per three-year-old class could be as large as $69.1 million if all students enrolled in the plan. However, it says similar programs in other cities usually have about 70 percent participation - leading to the $48.4 million estimate.

The Preschool Promise aims to make sure all three-year old's get two years of quality preschool before kindergarten.

When local business, school and city officials announced the program last spring, they estimated it would cost $6 - 9 million dollars per year.

From the UC study:

Public Savings and Benefits from Quality Preschool

Average savings per student

Reductions in school system expenditures. 

  • Reduced need for special education and grade retention 

$2,060

Reduction in teacher costs.

  • Reduced costs of hiring and retaining teachers, substitute teachers, spending on school security, and state spending on improving achievement

$378

Increase in parental taxes.

  • Freeing up time for parents to enter the labor market, resulting in increased sales and income tax revenues

$281

Reduced crime and criminal justice costs.

  • Substantially reduced criminal activity, thus reducing costs on the criminal justice system

$7,735

Reduced health care and social service costs.

  • Quality preschool programs have been shown to provide public gains associated with health screening, immunization, and nutrition, which may be delivered directly through the program or as a result of higher family incomes

$218

Increase in student taxes (income and sales) over a 47 year work life

$2,279

The total average annual  benefits per enrollee

$12,942

The Economics Center will conduct a second phase which will evaluate the costs of providing universal, quality preschool.  Completion of this phase of the study will yield a full cost/benefit analysis of the Cincinnati Preschool Promise.