Editorial: Proposition 1B is a smart investment for Seattle’s children
Seattle voters just made a great investment in presc
Seattle Times Editorial
SEATTLE voters just made a smart investment for all the city’s youngest citizensin approving Proposition 1B — and in a decisive way.
By a margin of 2-to-1, voters wisely picked between confusing choices. Proposition 1B was the only measure that will actually build a citywide preschool program. Voters rejected Proposition 1A, which wouldn’t have done any of that.
Seattle also positioned itself on the nation’s vanguard of prekindergarten education. Proposition 1B built on the best national research and lessons learned from other cities, including Boston and Tulsa, Okla.
Advanced by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council, especially Councilmember Tim Burgess, Proposition 1B will create and fund a network of high-quality, affordable classrooms for the city’s 3- and 4-year-olds. And voters are putting their money where their mouths are by agreeing to a four-year, $14.5 million-a-year property tax.
Proposition 1A offered an enticing ballot title, but it was a lion in sheep’s clothing. It would have bound the city to a ruinously expensive, unfunded plan to cap child-care payments for all families, regardless of income. Initial cost estimates were $100 million for the first year — with no way to pay for it.
Proposition 1A also would have effectively outsourced control of child care teacher- training standards to SEIU Local 925, guaranteeing the union a steady stream of city funds.
In choosing Proposition 1B, Seattle can now begin to build a world-class prekindergarten program. Such programs elsewhere helped narrow the achievement gap across color and class lines, and boosted all participating students’ readiness for school.
These immensely promising ideas are wrapped in a four-year pilot project. If it works, it can be scaled out further into a universal program. This is a bold, smart step. Nice work, Seattle.
Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Jonathan Martin, Thanh Tan, Blanca Torres, Robert J. Vickers, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).