Best Lessons Learned

How Boise sidestepped the Statehouse to create its own Pre-K

Staff Pick

There is plenty to be embarrassed about when it comes to Idaho's inadequate funding for public education. Near the top of the list is the Idaho Legislature's continued refusal to even consider a plan for to fund statewide pre-kindergarten (there are some legislators who don't think kindergarten should get full funding). In 2013, 33,000 Idaho 3- and 4-year-olds were not enrolled in any kind of preschool, pushing Idaho to 49th in the nation for kids attending pre-K. Now there is a glimmer of hope for a select number of parents in Boise's Vista neighborhood, where the city of Boise and Boise Independent School District will launch pre-K at Hawthorne and Whitney elementary schools beginning this November. The first year of the program, including startup costs, needs $262,000, with ongoing annual costs runnning to $182,000. Plenty of private partners have stepped up to the plate to help fund the pilot program, and the city of Boise will be the financial back-stop, providing the funds if there's any shortfall.
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