With ballots due Nov. 4, Seattle voters are fielding a steady stream of mailed literature associated with a pair of early-education propositions.
Seattle Proposition No. 1A would increase pay and training for child-care workers and set a goal of making child care more affordable for families with kids. Proposition No. 1B would enact a $58 million property-tax levy to fund a four-year pilot program of city-subsidized preschool as a first step toward making preschool available to all families with kids.
But some of the mailers around 1A and 1B contain suspect spin and misinformation.
The claim: A mailer paid for by Save the Children Action Network, a Washington, D.C.-based political organization supporting 1B, touts that measure. It says, “Proposition 1B actually funds preschool for all Seattle kids.”
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What we found: False.
Proposition 1B would set up a four-year subsidized preschool pilot program. In its first year, the program would serve about 280 children, providing tuition subsidies on a sliding scale based on family income.
In its fourth year, the program would seek to serve about 2,000 children.
While supporters say 1B’s goal is to put Seattle on the road to making preschool available to all children, the measure on this year’s ballot would not accomplish that.
And although 1B would subsidize preschool at some level for all children enrolled, the subsidy for wealthier households would be minimal.
“This campaign mailer is not just sloppy, it’s embarrassing for Prop 1B’s supporters in City Hall,” said Heather Weiner, spokeswoman for the 1A campaign.
“Prop 1B is an expensive experiment covering fewer than 7 percent of Seattle’s kids, and it’s unclear how many of those will be from low-income families,” she added.
Kimberly Robson, spokeswoman for Save the Children Action Network, says 1B would be a step toward universal preschool.
“Proposition 1B sets up a high-quality preschool program that is potentially open to all children in Seattle,” she said.
“The initial pilot program will offer preschool to 2,000 new kids by 2018 and the City has made clear its intention to expand further. Unlike the alternative plan that would force cuts in critical city services, Proposition 1B actually puts Seattle on the path towards having voluntary universal preschool available to all Seattle families.”
Daniel Beekman: 206-464-2164 or firstname.lastname@example.org