On Wednesday, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced the award of approximately $470,000 in funding from the 2011 Families and Education Levy for investments in early learning at three Seattle preschools as part of the City of Seattle’s Step Ahead preschool program.
The 2011 funding increases slots at one existing Levy-funded preschool, and adds two preschools to the Step Ahead program, Seed of Life LLC (southeast Seattle), and Puget Sound Educational Service District (southwest Seattle).
“This new funding will help more children get the early learning they need,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “Research has shown that high-quality early learning environments are key to a child’s future success in school and beyond.”
The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD), which administers the Step Ahead preschool program, received six applications for nine preschool sites totaling $996,000 in requested funds through a Request for Investment (RFI) process. The RFI sought to contract with a diverse group of providers to deliver preschool services for low- and moderate-income families of three- and four-year-old children who live in the attendance areas of Seattle elementary schools that are eligible for Families and Education Levy funding.
After extensive review by a panel that included staff from HSD, the Office for Education and the community, the three preschools were awarded funding as follows: $126,240 to Denise Louie Education Center on Beacon Hill (20 part-time children served), $132,940 to Puget Sound Educational Service District in Southwest Seattle (17 full-time children served), and $207,508 to Seed of Life LLC in Southeast Seattle (28 full-time children served).
Slots are now available for Step Ahead preschools for the 2013-2014 school year citywide. To qualify: children must be three or four years old by August 31, 2013, families must live in Seattle city limits, and families must meet the income guidelines based on family size.
The Levy now funds a total of 20 preschool sites operated by 11 community agencies.