The first four providers of the city's new subsidized preschool program were unveiled Monday, and they're primarily in South Seattle.
Beginning this fall, the first Seattle Preschool Program sites will offer free or sliding-scale tuition to about 230 children who are 3 or 4 years old.
The sites announced by Mayor Ed Murray on Monday include 12 classrooms in eight neighborhoods:
- Causey's Early Learning Center: Central District and Beacon Hill
- Community Day School Association: Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Leschi and Delridge
- Creative Kids: Greenwood
- Sound Childcare Solutions: Downtown and Mount Baker
In order to take part in the program, providers must have teachers who have, or are working toward, bachelor's degrees (although waivers are available). The classes will be offered six hours a day, 180 days a year, with the option of paying extra for before- and/or after-school care.
Tuition for the Seattle Preschool Program will be free for families earning up to three times the federal poverty rate, or about $70,000 a year for a family of four. Higher-earning families will pay on a sliding scale, with the wealthiest tier paying 95 percent tuition: $10,173 for the school year.
The city has now posted the student enrollment application online.
Children already enrolled for fall preschool spaces at the first locations will have priority, with other applicants weighted based on sibling attendance, income level, school assignment neighborhood and other factors.
Seattle voters approved the $58 million, four-year pilot project last fall. It’s focused on preparing low-income children and children of color for kindergarten. The program will expand to serve as many as 2,000 children in its fourth year.
Absent from the provider list were any sites in Seattle Public Schools, which has been working with the city to find locations in the district's crowded buildings.
The School Board will vote next month on whether to take part in the program this year, possibly at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School and the old and new locations of Van Asselt Elementary School.
The latest proposal would include two existing preschool classrooms (the district currently has 66 preschool classes in its schools citywide) and a new classroom. School Board members have voiced concerns that the district is too squeezed financially and capacity-wise to take part now.