Mayor Lee expands preschool access

Mayor Ed Lee announced an expansion of San Francisco’s preschool assistance program Tuesday he said will give The City’s parents the best access to preschool in the nation.

The Preschool for All program, which gives applicant parents either full funding for public preschools or partial funding for private preschools, will expand to offer assistance to 860 more families, bringing the total number given assistance to 4,660, according to Lee’s office.

The overwhelming passage of Measure C in November with 74.4 percent of the vote paved the way for the expansion by funding the program for an additional 26 years. The Public Education Enrichment Fund was created through a ballot measure in 2004 and set to expire in 2014 but was extended for the next quarter-century.

About one-third of its funds went to create the Preschool for All program. The program allows 4-year-old children to enter preschool with public assistance. Program officials say studies have shown that students who go through the program enter kindergarten at a significant advantage over students who didn’t.

But spaces in the program have been limited and parents have been advised to apply early to get a spot.

Lee said in a statement:

“An investment in universal pre-K is an investment in San Francisco families and an investment in a more affordable San Francisco.”

Lee said he will discuss the program’s expansion as well as other new investments to support low- and middle-income families during his upcoming State of the City address.