PIMA COUNTY, May 4, 2021 – The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to approve a plan to allocate up to $10 million in County funds, as well as almost $3 million from cities, towns and other partners, to assist low-income families with paying for high-quality preschool for 1,245 children.
The plan, which would begin July 1, includes the following:
- Partnerships with eight school districts and Pima Community College to offer free high quality preschool to approximately 480 children.
- Partnership with First Things First, a State Agency focused on early childhood development, to offer 560 additional scholarships for quality preschools within their Quality First system (includes school districts, centers and home-based providers).
- Partnership with Child-Parent Centers, to offer extended day Head Start preschool programs at 11 locations for 205 children.
- And the solicitation of proposals to contract with an experienced organization to develop a 3-year implementation plan to manage and implement an ongoing preschool scholarship program, and implement the plan under the guidance of the multi-departmental oversight team.
These new scholarships and preschool classes will aid eligible Pima County families who have children ages 3-5 (not yet eligible for Kindergarten) with a household income of 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level or less and are interested in sending their children to a high-quality preschool.
A wealth of data shows that investing in high-quality preschool, especially for economically disadvantaged, minority and dual language children, provides short-term and lasting benefits to children, families, schools, taxpayers, and the community.
“Successful communities support the education of their children, and I’m proud to be part of a community that is giving our children the best possible chance for success through this program,” said County Supervisor Rex Scott. “The data is undeniable – early education works. Children who benefit from early education on average do better in school throughout their careers, are more likely to graduate from high school and earn higher wages after graduation.” The board in February directed the County Administrator to budget $10 million in fiscal year for this effort. The Year 1 plan focuses on getting assistance to families and preschool providers as quickly and efficiently as possible, increasing the number of high-quality preschool providers and those that accept state childcare subsidies, and expanding capacity where possible as enrollment recovers from the pandemic.