2020 has only just begun, but it’s already time to think about the fall. Enrollment for the 2020-21 school year is happening now, and parents of young children are visiting schools, filling out paperwork and sending enrollment checks for preschool.
But for many Cincinnati parents, preschool is a privilege that, up until a few years ago, was out of reach.
Cincinnati Preschool Promise (CPP) developed as the result of an ambitious 2016 tax levy. The levy included $33 million a year to strengthen K-12 education and $15 million a year to expand access to quality preschool.
But historically, there haven’t been enough spots in quality preschool programs for all 3- and 4-year-olds in Greater Cincinnati. As a result, many of these children enter kindergarten with little-to-no preparatory curriculum.
CPP’s mission is two-pronged: to increase access to preschool via tuition assistance, and to increase the quality of existing programs through the five-star “Step Up to Quality” rating system. The program aims to make high-quality preschool programs accessible to families within the Cincinnati Public School district.
Cincinnati Parent spoke with LaKeisa Ealy, CPP’s community engagement & marketing manager, about all-things preschool, how parents can apply for assistance and long-term plans for the nonprofit.
CPP is the result of a 2016 tax levy. Why was this levy so crucial?
CPP makes it possible for families to have equitable access to high quality, culturally competent preschool in public and private settings within the Cincinnati Public School district boundary, by utilizing funds to expand the number of quality preschools and for tuition assistance for families who need it most.
Who is eligible for preschool assistance?
To be eligible, families must meet the following criteria: children must be 3 or 4 years old by Sept. 30, live within the Cincinnati Public School District and meet income guidelines of 300% and under Federal Poverty guidelines. Families can choose from over 60 community-based 3–, 4– and 5–star providers.
How can families apply?
Families can apply on an ongoing basis through CPP’s website. Visit cincy-promise.org or call 513-447-4277 for more information.
What are your long-term hopes for Cincinnati Preschool Promise?
Last year, more than 1,100 students received tuition assistance, and that number continues to grow. Looking ahead, CPP will continue to aid programs that are looking to increase their “Step Up to Quality” star rating.
Attending a high-quality preschool has been shown to have long-lasting positive outcomes, both for the children and the community. With Cincinnati Preschool Promise, families are able to afford the first rung in this scholastic step ladder.