Friday, September 19th, 2014

Fitz-O-Meter

Promote universal pre-kindergarten


"FitzGerald will work with corporate, community, state, federal, and education partners towards the full phase-in of the UPK (universal pre-kindergarten) implementation plan to ensure that all of Cuyahoga County’s children enter school ready to succeed. Additionally, the new county government will work to increase partnerships with Cuyahoga County’s public school districts and local governments to increase local UPK investments and community engagement."

Sources:

Ed FitzGerald, "The Cuyahoga Commitment to Education" campaign policy statement

Subjects: Education

Updates

FitzGerald budget plan for 2012 includes funding for expansion of universal pre-K

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald touted education as a candidate, arguing that good schooling is a key to better prepare citizens for the workforce and building a stronger economy.

Those efforts, he said, need to start with the youngest of citizens. Among FitzGerald"s campaign promises: Promote universal pre-kindergarten.

FitzGerald unveiled a two-year budget plan Oct. 11, 2011. It earmarks $1 million for expansion of universal pre-kindergarten in 2012.

Cuyahoga County Council, which is charged with approving the spending plan, has started hearings on the annual budget. The new two-year budget takes effect Jan. 1.

The county started the Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program in 2008.

The initiative, conducted by the private-public Invest in Children partnership, has been shown to help children succeed in school. The program serves 1,000 children at 10 sites in Cleveland, 10 sites in the eastern suburbs and four more sites in western suburbs..

FitzGerald promised to expand the program. Plans are to serve 12,000 children by 2019.
   
When he gave his state-of-the-county speech April 6, 2011, FitzGerald announced a plan to tap sales tax revenues to help fund expansion of the pre-K program. He has directed that about $3.5 million in sales taxes go to the program. He said then that matching donations would be sought from businesses and foundations.

By April 8, he had $1.3 million in commitments from the PNC and George Gund foundations.

"We know that when it comes time to allocate scarce resources we have to put those resources to the extent we can in the child"s first five years of life,” he said then.
   
A Case Western Reserve University study showed universal pre-kindergarten has made a positive impact on the children it serves, FitzGerald said. Studies on similar programs nationwide show a long-term economic return of between 4 percent and 16 percent.

Inclusion of funding for the pre-K program in the new budget plan shows more progress on this pledge. For now, PolitiFact Ohio can point the needle on the Fitz-O-Meter at In the Works.

Sources:

Ed FitzGerald,Policy Proposal: The Cuyahoga Commitment to Education
   
Executive Ed FitzGerald,Early Childhood Education Program Expands with Support from Cuyahoga County, April 11, 2011
   
The Plain Dealer, "Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald announces plans for a tax-supported scholarship program,” April 6, 2011
   
The Plain Dealer, "Gund, PNC donate $1.3 million to Cuyahoga County's early-childhood program,” April 12, 2011

The Plain Dealer, "FitzGerald unveils Cuyahoga County budget plan,” Oct. 12, 2011

PolitiFact Ohio, "Cuyahoga County budget proposal for 2012 includes scholarship money,” Oct. 14, 2011

Invest in Children, Universal Pre-Kindergarten

Sales tax revenues, matching donations to fund program

In his campaign, Democrat Ed FitzGerald linked economic development to human development, arguing that the region cannot succeed without educating its citizens. And so he promised to expand Cuyahoga County"s universal pre-kindergarten program.

Launched in 2007 as part of the private-public partnership Invest in Children, universal pre-kindergarten is designed to better prepare children for elementary school. Although 1,000 children currently participate in the program, plans are to serve 12,000 children by 2019.

FitzGerald has directed that about $3.5 million in sales taxes go to the program and that matching donations be sought from businesses and foundations.

He announced the plan in his state-of-the-county speech April 6, and by April 8, he had $1.3 million in commitments from the PNC and George Gund Foundations.

"We know that they work,” FitzGerald said April 11, standing in front of wriggly preschoolers in a West Side Ecumenical Ministry classroom. "We know that when it comes time to allocate scarce resources we have to put those resources to the extent we can in the child"s first five years of life.”

A Case Western Reserve University study showed universal pre-kindergarten has made a positive impact on the children it serves, FitzGerald said. Studies on similar programs nationwide show a long-term economic return of between 4 percent and 16 percent.

Four months into his term, FitzGerald has found money to expand universal pre-kindergarten, so we move this promise to In the Works.
 

Sources:

Ed FitzGerald, Policy Proposal: The Cuyahoga Commitment to Education

Executive Ed FitzGerald, Early Childhood Education Program Expands with Support from Cuyahoga County, April 11, 2011

The Plain Dealer, "Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald announces plans for a tax-supported scholarship program,” April 6, 2011

The Plain Dealer, "Gund, PNC donate $1.3 million to Cuyahoga County's early-childhood program,” April 12, 2011