Preschool Promise

Ann Thompson / WVXU

The Preschool Promise Board announced Monday that tuition assistance will be expanded to 3-year-olds at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), or about $48,600 per year for a family of four. Eligible families of 4-year-old children already receive it.

Provided

Last November, Cincinnati voters approved a $48 million levy for Cincinnati Public Schools, part of which will be used to increase access to quality preschool. When the first classes start in August, an additional 2,000 Cincinnati three-  and four-year-olds will start attending subsidized preschool as part of the expansion program. The goal is 6,000 children in five years.

Provided

The first meeting for educators interested in being part of Cincinnati's Preschool Promise is Monday night. Project Implementation Lead Vanessa White says a number of preschool providers have been asking how to get involved. She says Monday's meeting should help educators without high state rankings.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Nearly three months after the passage of Issue 44, a coalition of educators and social service professionals are busily working to make Preschool Promise a reality.

They have just six months before an additional 2,000 Cincinnati three and four year olds will start attending subsidized preschool as part of the expansion program. The goal is 6,000 kids in five years.

Issue 44, a large tax levy to infuse money into the Cincinnati Public  Schools and fund a preschool program for 6,000 three- and four-year-olds,  was supported by the vast majority of the school district's voters Tuesday.

What is Issue 44 about?

The Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) has not had a new levy since 2008 and could be facing large deficits in the near future.  A coalition of educators and people in the social service sector called Cincinnati Preschool Promise had been talking in recent years about how to pay for pre-school for every 3- and 4-year-old child in the area.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

At the annual CPS State of  the Schools address Friday, Greg Landsman wiped a tear away when recalling a time he had to explain to his grade school daughter the importance of the Preschool Promise initiative. Thinking there were just a few kids who couldn't afford to attend, she wanted to know their names.

But the list of names was far too long for her father to recite. 

This fall, Cincinnati Public Schools will increase the number of preschool seats from 1,200 to 1,500. But Landsman says there are 9,000 three and four-year olds in Cincinnati. He says there are existing programs and some state and federal funding, but it's not enough.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Cincinnati Public Schools will have a new levy on the ballot this fall. Board members gave final approval to ballot language Tuesday for a five-year, 7.93 mill levy which would raise about $48 million a year and cost $277.55 per $100,000 of home value.

The proposed Cincinnati Public School levy will be just shy of 8-mills.

According to CPS Spokeswoman Janet Walsh, the actual ballot language still has to be approved by the board, but the millage amount has been certified as 7.93.

Update 05/24/16: The Cincinnati Board of Education unanimously approved the resolution Monday night.

Original Post: Members of the Cincinnati School Board will vote Monday night on whether to put an emergency tax levy on the ballot this fall. Board President Erika Copeland-Dansby says the five-year levy, which would produce $48 million annually, is needed.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

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.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Before the end of the 2015-2016 school year the board for Cincinnati Public Schools is expected to finalize the way parents sign their kids up for magnet and neighborhood schools.

According to district spokeswoman Janet Walsh, "There does seem to be a very clear consensus to continue the online lottery. That seems to be working well in the board's opinion. As a matter of fact, that was the result of the weeks of engagement that we had after the policy was implemented."

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Within a few weeks, the group working on a plan to provide voluntary, universal preschool in the region could have a plan for a tax levy to go on the November ballot.  

But what type of levy and whether it would be run in Hamilton County or just Cincinnati are still being decided.  

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Backers of expanded access to early childhood education rallied in Bond Hill Thursday night.  The People's Platform wants two years of preschool for every child.

Provided / Cincinnati Children's

A handful of philanthropy groups are coming together to get more books in the hands of children from low-income families.

In a collaboration with Imagination Library and Reach Out and Read, Medicaid-eligible children in Cincinnati will be able to receive a free book every month from birth to age five.

Pages