Ambitious plans for city to provide preschool for every child
CINCINNATI (Jeff Hirsh) - A group hopes to give every local child an equal chance at success.
Hundreds were expected Thursday night, Nov. 19, as a coalition of community and religious leaders kicks off "Preschool Promise" with the goal of quality, early education for everyone. The rally was led by the AMOS Project, a religious-based, social justice organization.
Right now there is far more demand for preschool slots in Cincinnati than there are available spaces. Quality preschool, like the YMCA site in Over-The-Rhine, is seen as a major way to reduce child poverty. By giving kids educational and social skills they are ready for kindergarten and the school years to follow.
There are a number of states and cities where universal, taxpayer supported preschool is available for 4-year-olds. But the Cincinnati preschool promise would add 3-year-olds as well. However, preschool is not free-school. Somebody has to pay for it.
Supporters are pushing for a tax increase on the November 2016 ballot to provide preschool subsidies to anyone. Low income families would get more but it truly would be a universal plan:
Director of the AMOS Project, Troy Jackson, said, "One of the ways we determine what we care about most as a city and as a community and as people of faith is where we put our resources. And I want to live in a Cincinnati that values children and wants to back that up, not just with rhetoric and slogans but by a position which includes public dollars."
It's still uncertain what kind of tax increase will be put before the voters or if it will be just for the city of Cincinnati or also include Hamilton County. Those details will be coming soon.