Santa Fe’s Early Childhood Expansion Initiative.

pre-kI was the chief consultant and evaluator for Oakland Unified School District’s Early Childhood Education programs for four years. I am passionate about the need for expanding early childhood education and would like to see this occur in Santa Fe.

I spent some time reviewing the report that frames the City’s approach and was impressed with many aspects of their review of the research. The report documents clearly the benefits from early childhood programs both from a fiscal and from a human perspective. Click the following link santafeprekunmetneedreport to read the report on unmet need. The report also describes fiscal projections that support how projected increases in our population will supplant most of the losses in revenue due to reduced consumption of soda due to the increased costs. Click here economicanalysis-december2016 for a report on the soda tax revenue plan.  But while these reports are quite comprehensive there are still gaps in this proposal and its analysis. (As we learned above with Papen’s SB 182 Early Childhood Land Grant bill, you need to dig a bit deeper than a bill title. FYI-after a barrage of emails and calls, Papen withdrew this shameful bill. Under the guise of supporting expansion of early childhood, the bill would have sold off millions of acres of public land to the fossil fuel industry. It won’t now.) Finally, to see a responses to a list of Frequently Asked Questions, click universal-early-childhood-educ-faqs.

While it is likely that a soda tax will hit low-income families hardest because they consume more soda than do upper income populations, it is also true that the resolution ensures that the vast majority of benefit from the tax will be low-income families of color. What’s more, there is substantial research that notes how increases in the cost of soda  decreases consumption of these beverages, especially among low-income communities.  Taken together, the tax will significantly increase access to early childhood programs for low-income Santa Feans and will reduce consumption of soda, which can contribute to reductions in childhood obesity, diabetes and hypertension.

On Wednesday, March 8 at 7pm at the Santa Fe City Council Chambers, 200 Lincoln there will be a hearing on the Universal Early Childhood Education resolution. Make plans to attend.  But between now and then, please contact your City Councilor and tell them you support expansion of early childhood program and will be paying attention to their vote.  Click here for contact information for your City Council representatives. When calling or emailing your representatives, just tell them that you support the Universal Early Childhood Education resolution and as reasons speak from your personal perspective based upon the information provided above or in the links provided. But please do raise your voice.

Retake will keep you posted.