On Wednesday, August 23 Councilmember Craig Rice, who serves as chair of the Council’s Education Committee, will host a community meeting with Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith to discuss universal pre-kindergarten programs. The meeting will be held at 6:30 pm in the cafeteria at Richard Montgomery High School, which is located at 250 Richard Montgomery Drive in Rockville. Plenty of parking is available. Interpretation services will be provided for residents who speak Spanish.
The purpose of this community meeting is to seek input from the community about what they are looking for in terms of early childhood education both in current programming and possible implementation of universal pre-kindergarten programs.
“For all children to achieve their true potential, it is necessary to set the foundation for learning and education in their early years,” said Councilmember Rice. High-quality pre-k programs yield many important benefits including instilling positive behavior, enhancing grade level performance and helping to close the achievement gap. I want to hold this meeting to hear from our community about what is important to them, as we navigate how to expand early childhood programs here in the County.”
Pre-kindergarten, or pre-k, typically refers to early education programs, for four-year-old children, that enhance their readiness for kindergarten. The County’s Office of Legislative Oversight released a report in February that found the benefits of high-quality pre-k programs far exceed their costs. The report estimates offering universal pre-k in the County could cost between $113 million and $128 million each year.
OLO’s summary of pre-k program data for four-year-old children found that the publicly supported pre-k programs in FY16 funded 3,389 general education slots at a cost of $23 million and 800 special education slots at $19.6 million. A majority of the general and special education programs offer part-time rather than school day slots.
In total, nearly 4,200 publicly-funded and subsidized pre-k slots were utilized by four-year-old children in the County at a cost of $42.6 million. OLO’s Report 2017-7, Pre-K in Montgomery and in Other Jurisdictions, can be viewed here.