In the News

St. Louis Voters To Decide Whether To Increase Property Taxes For Early Childhood Ed

ST. LOUIS, MO, JUNE 11, 2020 – More money will go toward early childhood education and services if St. Louis voters approve a property tax increase in November.

This month, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen placed a property tax levy on the Nov. 3 ballot that would increase the property tax rate by 6 cents.

“It takes money to move mission, and I believe there’s no better way to invest in our children of St. Louis than to raise these kinds of funds for them,” said Alderwoman Shameem Clark Hubbard, a Democrat from the 26th Ward. Read more.

Opinion: Investment in Kindergarten Readiness Paying Dividends

CINCINNATI, OHIO, MARCH 2, 2020 – As president and CEO of a locally-based, worldwide manufacturing firm, I am constantly faced with the challenge of hiring skilled talent. My peers in this and other industries are faced with similar issues. However, in my role as board chair of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, I am pleased that we recognized more than 15 years ago, the need to support the growth and development of a highly effective step in creating our talent pipeline: kindergarten readiness.

Since that time, United Way, Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) and Innovations (the community research arm of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital) have annually evaluated kindergarten readiness rates of CPS children and, more importantly, have come to understand that access to high-quality preschool is a main driver to a child’s early success in school and life. This became the rationale for building the case for what is now the Cincinnati Preschool Promise.

As a result of this data partnership, Cincinnati had the unique opportunity to conduct a longitudinal study demonstrating the long-term effects of kindergarten readiness. This newly released, landmark study tracked over 2,100 CPS children from kindergarten through high school graduation. Read more.

Steve Shifman is president and CEO of Blue Ash-based Michelman Co. and board chair of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati.

Dayton Ohio Voters’ YES to Income Tax Hike for Preschool Pays Off

DAYTON, OHIO. NOVEMBER 6, 2019 – Children who attended local Preschool Promise-affiliated programs scored significantly higher in kindergarten readiness than their non-attending peers, according to state data recently analyzed by the preschool group.

Ohio Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) data is released on a one-year lag, with fall 2018 scores coming out a month ago. Preschool Promise Executive Director Robyn Lightcap said 33 percent of 2017-18 Preschool Promise students who then took the fall 2018 KRA in Dayton Public Schools scored in the highest band — demonstrating readiness. In comparison, only 21 percent of non-Preschool Promise students in that DPS kindergarten class scored in that band. Read more.

Fantasy Sports Tax that would Benefit Early Childhood Education Breezes through Louisiana House

LOUISIANA, MAY 22, 2019 – A bill that would impose a 15 percent tax on the revenue from newly-legalized online fantasy sports games breezed through the Louisiana House on Wednesday.

The vote was 80-16, well over the 70 votes needed for final approval.

The measure, House Bill 600, next faces action in the state Senate.

Voters in 47 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes last year authorized the games, which allows players using computers and smartphones to craft teams of players from major sports, pay an entry fee and pursue cash prizes based on how those players perform in actual games. Read more.

Mayor London Breed to Invest $22.4 Million in Soda Tax Revenue in Children’s Health and Wellness Programs

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, MAY 24, 2019 – Mayor London N. Breed today announced that her upcoming budget for Fiscal Years (FY) 2019-2020 and 2020-21 will direct $22.4 million in revenue from the City’s Soda Tax to programs benefitting children and youth. Of the $22.4 million, $4 million will go toward expanding recreation scholarships and outreach to youth living in shelters, public housing and housing developments assisted by the City.

“The Soda Tax was introduced to protect our children from the harmful impacts of sugary beverages, which is why it is important that we invest this revenue in programs to promote the health and well-being of our children,” said Mayor Breed. “Our City services must be equitable, and these initiatives will help more of our kids access our City’s recreation programs, especially those who traditionally have faced barriers to participating in our camps and other summer activities.” Read more.

New Proposal would Extend Early Childcare Pipeline from Birth to Preschool for Some NYC children

NEW YORK CITY, NY, MAY 17, 2019 – The New York City comptroller, with support from some state legislators, is pushing for a new payroll tax to dramatically expand access to affordable care for the city’s youngest children.

A proposed state bill would raise almost $660 million, elected officials say, allowing the city to serve 34,000 more infants and toddlers from birth through age 3.

Calling his plan NYC Under 3, Comptroller Scott Stringer positioned the proposal as a benefit to families and also the city economy by growing the workforce. But he also said that expanding childcare could help improve academic outcomes for students from low-income homes.

“Achievement gaps and inequality don’t start in grade school or kindergarten, or even pre-K,” Comptroller Scott Stringer said at a press conference to announce his plan. “They start on day one.” Read more.

Public Preschool — and Finding Enduring Fiscal Support for it — Isn’t Child’s Play

SEATTLE, WA, MAY 18, 2019 – One frigid morning, on a playground outside a red modular classroom, a preschooler with wispy blond hair folded her arms across her chest and looked at the ground, the slightest pout forming on her face. “I’m staying out here today,” Ali, 4, said to her father. Hoping to distract her, he kicked a ball. Ali laughed and ran after it. A few minutes later, he had coaxed her inside where it was warm, and she approached a classmate reading a book on the rug.

“Ali has made leaps here,” said the girl’s father, Ryan Price, 41, a sporting goods sales manager. “She used to hang on to my leg when I tried to leave and then spent most of her time in the ‘upset room.’ Now, she’s interacting with the other kids and doing her routines.” Read more.

Universal Pre-K Set as a Goal for Forsyth County

WINSTON-SALEM, NC, APRIL 11, 2019 – A coalition of community leaders led by Family Services announced a plan to provide universal early education for every 4-year-old, commonly known as pre-K, in Forsyth County at a press conference at Winston-Salem State University on Tuesday.

A report issued by the initiative, named the Pre-K Priority, cites a 2017 Harvard study that found Forsyth County to be the fifth worst county in the nation — only four Native American reservation counties performed lower — “for helping poor children move up the income ladder.” The initiative’s backers believe that early childhood education is the key to disrupting the cycle of poverty, based on recent discoveries in brain science that show that the first five years of life are a time of rapid and critical physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. Read more.

With Business Buy-In and Property Tax Boost, Charlotte got on Path to Universal Public Pre-K

CHARLOTTE, NC, APRIL 7, 2019 – Five years ago, the civic and business leaders of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina discovered that they were building a bustling economy on a cracked foundation.

The region, with a population of roughly 860,000, is home to six Fortune 500 corporate headquarters, including Lowe’s and Bank of America, and universities. Charlotte’s business district is packed with high-rises, museums, trendy restaurants, performance venues and hotels. Cranes tower over construction sites and developers try keep up with demand for offices and condos.

By those criteria, the community was revving.

Then came the 2014 research from Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley that people in Charlotte refer to simply as the “Chetty report,” after one of its authors. Read more.