Tempe Officials Approve Free Pre-Kindergarten Pilot Program

By Carrie Jung
Published: Saturday, April 8, 2017 - 5:05am

Tempe will be dramatically expanding access to free pre-kindergarten next year. The move is part of a two-year pilot program recently approved by the Tempe City Council.

Officials estimate the program will serve about 360 kids over roughly 20 classrooms.

Councilmember David Schapira spearheaded the effort. He said a city commissioned study that showed about two-thirds of Tempe kids were not meeting kindergarten readiness benchmarks demonstrated why the program was needed.

"You know unfortunately there are not the resources from the federal level," Schapira said. "There are no resources from the state level and our school districts that are state funded do not get any resources for preschool students. So it really leaves it to a local community to decide whether this is going to be a priority."

Schapira added the program will cost the city about $3 million per year. That money will be pulled from Tempe’s restricted funds account that's fed by revenue the city makes from land it sells and leases to developers.

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