Richmond working to find how much universal preschool program would cost

Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 5:50 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -The push is on to figure out how much it would cost for the City of Richmond to provide a universal preschool.

In 2022, Mayor Leval Stoney announced the idea to provide school readiness to prepare 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds who need it for Kindergarten at no or low cost for their families. The city’s Office of Children and Families says only families who make under a certain income benefit from subsidized preschool programs; over half of incoming RPS kindergarteners do not benefit from these programs.

“It really is multi-generational,” said Eva Colen with the Office of Children and Families. “On the one hand, we know that high-quality early learning experiences are absolutely vital to an individual’s entire life trajectory. 90% of your brain is fully developed by the time you blow out the candles on your fifth birthday cake.”

Stoney says it could be a public-private partnership to start the program.

Now, the city is asking for those providers to complete a survey by Jan. 13, hoping to have a cost estimate done by the end of the year.