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Recent early education news and updates

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School districts find creative ways to fund pre-K

November 17, 2017
Alison DeNisco
District Administration Magazine

Big city districts are taking the lead in funding pre-K programs as states work more slowly to expand access.

“While states continue to make progress in expanding access to early education, cities have increasingly taken it upon themselves to supplement those resources with local contributions,” says Albert Wat, senior policy director at the Alliance for Early Success.

Usually, city preschool measures get funded through a dedicated city tax. For example, Denver and San Antonio have expanded access to pre-K through revenues from sales tax. Seattle does so through a property tax, while Philadelphia uses a tax on sodas…

If a district receives funding to serve preschool students with disabilities, it can use “reverse mainstreaming” to bring in non-special needs students to serve as models in the classroom, says W. Steven Barnett, senior co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.

“Essentially you have a lot of infrastructure supported by the preschool special ed program,” Barnett says. “You have a need for integration with non-special needs kids. The marginal cost of adding those kids is very close to zero.”