Will Preschool and Early Childhood Education Initiative Have the Votes to Go Forward?


Three weeks ago there were four votes to go forward with a quarter to one-half cent sales tax that would, among other things, generate between $8.4 million (quarter-cent) to $16.8 million (half cent) for several items  “including, but not limited to, local road maintenance, improving access to and the quality of preschool and early childhood education, and services to reduce homelessness.”

Because the measure would be a general tax, it requires four votes of the County Board of Supervisors.

There were questions about how the preschool program would work, particularly since it lacks the resources to serve all 6000 or so students, who currently either cannot or do not access existing preschool programs.

The program is modeled after the Universal Preschool for West Sacramento (UP4WS) preschool program that has been a successful pilot program in West Sacramento for over a decade.

According to the county staff report:

Funding from the City of West Sacramento, First 5 CA, First 5 Yolo, and other contributors built a model program that, at full funding, included all three key components: quality support or enhancement, accessibility, and affordability.  This pilot has generated impressive outcomes and valuable lessons learned. The most recent evaluation report, released January 2016, shows that children who attended an Up4WS preschool program (most who would be considered high-risk) were more ready for kindergarten compared to a similar group of children who attended another preschool.

First 5 IMPACT (Improve and Maximize Programs So All Children Thrive) is a quality improvement program for early childhood providers countywide. It is funded by First 5 CA and First 5 Yolo, and implemented by City of West Sacramento staff, already trained from their experiences with Up4WS. This year, 2016, is the first year of implementation, as First 5 CA shifts from funding a handful of pilot programs that included Up4WS, to quality improvement in all 58 counties.  The final action plan has been approved by First 5 CA and associated partner agencies in Yolo County. It is underfunded for the robust quality support modeled by Up4WS and cannot reach as many providers, and therefore children, as could benefit with additional funding. The program plan, however, includes many of the proven pieces of successful quality improvement, and IMPACT has established a beginning network of quality early childhood providers.  IMPACT is only the quality component, and does not currently address expanded access or affordability.

Staff argues, “By both scaling up the successful, 10-year UP For West Sacramento (Up4WS) pilot and expanding and enhancing the current First 5 IMPACT quality improvement program, the Yolo County Quality Preschool/Early Childhood Education Initiative will build on existing programs, both public and private, center-based and family settings, to create a network of improved quality programming, expanded capacity, and affordability in areas across the County.”

Staff writes, “Following the Up4WS pilot program, the Yolo County Preschool Initiative seeks to  improve quality and access across the County of Yolo, in every jurisdiction, as well as expanding and upgrading preschool and early learning among high-need and/or at-risk populations.”

They note, “Both 3 and 4-year-olds are targeted to be served in the selection of sites involved in expanding access and in the creation of a central eligibility list for scholarship funding for high-need children.”

This would support both half-day and full-day programs, using a sliding-scale to provide both scholarships and provide reimbursement for children on the eligibility list.  “Up4WS charges fees to some parents at varying levels. Following this model, sliding scale tuition reimbursement would be allocated to participating sites, both private and public.”

The current proposal seeks to fund at about 25 percent of sales tax dollars for preschool.  They estimate that 2400 children in existing early learning sites can be served per $1.6 million dollars invested.


Staff writes, “Fund, in apportionment per jurisdiction defined in staff report, targeted scholarships in the form of provider reimbursements to existing preschool and early childhood education programs.  This affordability measure would be targeted to high-need children on an eligibility list with criteria for priority.”

They note, “Following Up4WS model and San Francisco Preschool model, offer both part-day and full-day scholarship reimbursements.  Part-day reimbursement to sites may be leveraged with existing part-day subsidized care to result in affordable full-day spaces.”

The plan would “offer sliding scale tuition reimbursement to participating sites, both private and public. Up4WS charges fees to some parents at varying levels.”  It would, “Develop a central eligibility list for at-risk and low-income children countywide, identified by jurisdiction.”

Three categories would be primarily served: “System-involved children, including neglected, abused, or exploited; or at-risk of being abused, neglected, or exploited; or children who are currently in or have been placed in foster care.”  Second, “Low income families who do not qualify for federal or state funded programs (Head Start/State Preschool).  Third, “Children with special needs, if no other preschool services can be accessed.”

They see this as a ten-year program, “based on pilots, including Up4WS, requiring phasing of quality improvements and site enhancements, as well as capacity needs assessment and building. Outcome evaluation would have several years of data, with potential for follow through in elementary school years.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting


About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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16 thoughts on “Will Preschool and Early Childhood Education Initiative Have the Votes to Go Forward?”

  1. Barack Palin

    Let me see if I’ve got this right.  We’re talking about a 1/2% sales tax increase in order to give a 25% or 50% scholarship of the cost to help send a maximum of 152 Davis kids to preschool or as little as only 64 kids if they’re handed full scholarships.  On top of that we’ll get some yet to be determined road money and some homeless funding.

    It doesn’t sound like Davis is getting much bang for their tax buck.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Depends on how you want to look at it, I suppose.  We only care about Davis?  Or do we care that 886 children in the county may get a chance to go to preschool now who couldn’t?  Davis could always do its own initiative like West Sacramento, I suppose.

    2. Barack Palin

      Davis which has the highest city population and represents 1/3 of the county population and has per capita income of $33,000 compared to an avg. of $26,000 for all the other cities will be saddled with paying most of this tax.  In turn locally we’ll get back 1/6 of the funds to send as little as only 64 kids to preschool.  Will we get back the same return for roads and homeless funding?

      We already have the highest sales taxes in the county, in fact we’re one of the higher taxed cities in the nation.  We’re looking at a huge budget shortfall, we have our own crumbling roads and other needs but yet we’re going to have to pay another sales tax increase where it looks like the lion’s share of the money is going to go to other cities?

      On top of that we’re looking at a school parcel tax increase and a sure to come road’s parcel tax.

      If this goes to ballot I think the people of Davis should really think this out, look at the numbers and put their tax money where they do indeed get the most bang for the tax buck, here at home in Davis and not with the County.

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        But we’re also not talking about a lot of money. If I spent $10,000 a year on taxable goods (which I doubt), I would spend an extra $50 on the tax. That’s not a lot to make sure an extra few hundred can go to preschool.

        1. Barack Palin

          How many times do we have to go through this.  Everytime you and others say it’s not a lot of money, but it has all added up to WHERE IT IS A LOT OF MONEY.

          I really don’t think we in Davis will be getting enough of a return to justify this new county tax.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            That’s fine, but you have to make a decision on your priority. For me, having preschool programs is worth an additional $50 a year out of my pocket.

        2. hpierce

          Well BP, from an “everyone but Davis”, point of view, it makes sense for the other Cities and the County, where Davis would pay more to spread elsewhere, to pass it… plus the Davis voters inclined to be ‘charitable’… likely to pass…

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Even if you buy a car, you’d be adding only perhaps only $50 to $100 depending on the cost (okay if you buy a $60,000 you might add $300 to the cost). And the way rules are structures for taxation, you’d pay that additional money no matter where you actually purchased the car.

  2. nameless

    Will Preschool and Early Childhood Education Initiative Have the Votes to Go Forward?

    I will be voting NO.  I don’t like the way this sales tax increase is structured as a catchall for a couple of new programs along with much needed infrastructure repairs to roads.  Had it just been for road repairs, I would have been fine with it.  Statistics indicate kids are NOT better off going to preschool by the time they reach the third grade.  How the money on the homeless would be spent is not clear.  While the county lauds its effort in “helping” the homeless that were camped out along the river in West Sacramento, I have heard from reliable sources that in fact all it did was move the homeless problem from West Sacramento to Woodland.  IMO, if you want to fund a specific program, say so, and set the tax for just that program, rather than in a catchall tax that includes a number of different items.

  3. Tia Will


    Statistics indicate kids are NOT better off going to preschool by the time they reach the third grade.”

    While this is true, there are now newer studies ( previously referenced) that demonstrate that these individuals obtain higher levels of education and have higher adult earnings than those who did not attend. I do not believe that we have had time to fully assess all the costs and benefits since some of those involved in preschool studies are just now reaching adulthood. However, I do not believe that we should be drawing the line at third grade performance and saying “see, it doesn’t work”. If we were to use that standard,we would be telling mothers that it doesn’t matter whether or not they talk to their children, or read to them, or engage them in intellectually stimulating games, because, after all the others will have caught up linguistically by third grade. I doubt that anyone is willing to argue for parental disengagement because others “catch up” in one parameter of assessment.

    1. nameless

      This is why I think your argument is hogwash:

      From https://www.nationalpriorities.org/analysis/2015/early-childhood-education-fact-sheet/

      Being poor takes a real toll on kids, but those who attend a quality preschool are more likely to graduate from high school, earn more as adults, and are less likely to become teen parents, serve jail or prison time, or need government assistance like welfare or food stamps.[2] Every kid deserves a good start in life.”

      NOTE THE WORDS “QUALITY” preschool.  In other words “rich kids preschool”.


      1. quielo

        Thanks for the link. “quality preschool” likely is an excuse to throw out all data that does not support the pre-ordained conclusion. In addition they had a curious claim about the pay of pre-school teachers “That means well-educated, well-paid teachers” that did not seem to be supported by any of the data linked. The group is quite proud that they have been “nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize” which makes them peers to Donald Trump who has also been “nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize”.

      2. wdf1

        nameless:  NOTE THE WORDS “QUALITY” preschool.  In other words “rich kids preschool”.

        I posted this before in response to your similar comments in the past, but you didn’t respond.

        Most models of an ideal preschool have some basis in the Perry Preschool Project, begun in the early 1960’s and described here and here.

        As I read that, the school described doesn’t seem to be “rich kids preschool.”  Did I miss something?

        The project seems to be a convincing case for the kind of accessible preschool program, as is being discussed among the board of supervisors.

        1. nameless

          The problem with any of these statistics is causality.  Parents who are more desirous of the children doing well in school and in life are more likely to send their kids to pre-school, which will skew any statistical results.  There is a built in assumption that because these kids went to preschool is the reason they are doing better in school, which is not necessarily the case.

          And just so we are clear, I have 3 kids, all who went thru the public school system. I literally had to home school them on basics like reading and math, so I do not have a whole lot of faith in schools to do a good job educating our kids. I was also a teacher in the public school system, so I have been on both sides of the table.

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