The excerpts of what I wrote for mayoral candidate Andrew Grant Houston’s free preschool policy:
Childcare is personal…[AGH’s] family pinching pennies to make sure we were all taken care of while my mom worked as a public school teacher. Childcare was expensive then, and today it’s more so.
In King County, the 2019 median cost of preschool was $1,290 a month per child. That’s 15% of the median monthly household income for a family with a child under 6 years old. It becomes even higher for families of color, and all rates are additionally higher for single-parent households:
Read AGH’s full policy here! (and donate if you’d like to see policy like this become reality)
Percent of household income going to pre-K (Washington State)
Information courtesy of Childcare Aware
|Overall||Asian||White||Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander||Hispanic||American Indian/ Alaskan Native||Black||Multiracial|
Now add rent to that monthly cost. We’re looking at nearly $2,500 a month for housing and childcare—not including food costs—in a city where the cost of living keeps going up and up. We know the rent is too damn high in Seattle (we have complimentary solutions for that), but so is childcare!
Every parent and their child deserves the opportunity to live here.
We do that by supporting our neighbors and providing Universal Pre-K.
THE COST OF CARE
…we are looking at $288M a year to create a total of 16,000 fully paid-for slots.
…two major focuses:
- Developing or expanding on progressive revenue to build to 16,000 slots
- Encouraging use of our Equitable Development Initiative to build more childcare centers
By focusing on covering the cost of services and developing more locations for childcare (which we extremely lack), we can work to close the gap. This would be the focus until 2026, when the existing 7-year, $619 million Families, Education, Preschool and Promise (FEPP) Levy is set to renew.
After the renewal, [AGH] would then develop enough funding to establish completely universal childcare by 2030.
A national conversation
The cost of child care is expensive everywhere, which makes sense; we want to ensure providers are being properly compensated for the important work they do. At the federal level, there are discussions to create Universal Childcare nationwide. If Congress passes universal childcare, we will shift the FEPP Levy funds to the Seattle Promise (which currently takes up only 6% of the cut) and expand that promise to include 4-year colleges and technical schools.
At the end of the day, we need to provide more resources and support for Seattleites at all ages. That’s how we ensure families are able to Stay in Seattle.