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Make Pre-K Available to All in St. Paul, Group Tells City Council


December 21, 2017
Frederick Melo
Twin Cities Pioneer Press

A coalition is asking the city of St. Paul to make early-childhood education available to all 9,000 of the city’s 3- and 4-year-olds.

The St. Paul Children’s Collaborative told the St. Paul City Council on Wednesday that too many of the city’s youngest students enter kindergarten with no academic footing, slowing academic achievement throughout their school years.

The collaborative envisions making pre-kindergarten education and day care available to all families on a sliding scale, with tuition fully covered for the poor.

According to the collaborative’s 47-page “Citywide 3K” report, about 5,000 of St. Paul’s youngest learners live in poverty and are unable to afford most private pre-kindergarten programs. Nearly 950 children are on waiting lists for school-based pre-K, Head Start, child care assistance and early-learning scholarships.

Pointing to the city’s half-cent sales tax as a potential funding source, the collaborative said next steps would include cost estimates, financial modeling and determining what authority would oversee the implementation of a citywide schooling initiative.