St. Paul city, school and nonprofit leaders are working on a plan to offer free or heavily subsidized preschool to all 3- and 4-year-olds in the city. The effort would cost anywhere from $25 million to $41 million a year, depending on how generous the subsidies would be. The most likely main source of funding would be a new local sales tax. City council member Rebecca Noecker said such a program would better prepare children for kindergarten while lifting a major financial burden off young families, making St. Paul a more attractive place to live. “The challenge now is we’re asking families to just cobble it together until their kids turn the magical age of 5,” she said. Planning began in spring 2017 with the St. Paul Children’s Collaborative, whose members represent the city, St. Paul Public Schools, Ramsey County, Head Start and the broader community. The city has paid $20,000 for a financial study and the school district $15,000 to help hire a facilitator for the team that will design the program. Other significant contributors include the Sauer Family Foundation, Wilder Foundation, Greater Twin Cities United Way and Ecolab. The design team should be done by early next year…. Read full this story
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