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San Francisco, CA

The development of a high-quality early learning system in San Francisco has been built through community collaboration over the past 20 years. In 1991, San Francisco was one of the first cities in the nation to pass a proposition—the Children’s Amendment—which set aside tax dollars for children’s services, to seed local investment in early learning. In 2004, San Francisco voters expanded their investment with the passage of the Public Education Enrichment Fund to enhance K-12 education with one-third of its funds aimed at providing every local four-year-old with high-quality preschool through the Preschool for All program. In November of 2014, voters approved the Children and Families First amendment, which establishes a policy council to formalize a cradle-to-college continuum of support, continuing funding for early learning for 26 years. San Francisco will invest an estimated $135 million in local funding, generated by the measure each year for quality early learning, education enrichment, and youth services.

An estimated one-third of this annual allocation will be invested in early learning. While consistently focused on creating opportunity for the lowest income children, San Francisco’s strategy evolved to ensure access and quality for all children through a universal approach. San Francisco champions both quality and choice through a mixed delivery system that offers community, school, and family child care options through nonprofit, for-profit, and public sector program partners. Early learning professionals are highly trained and supported—lead teachers must hold a B.A. degree and are offered on-site expert coaching to identify needs, develop long-term quality improvement plans and model best practices. The preschool program is made possible in part by support from the Mimi and Peter Haas Fund. The Haas Fund has contributed over $60 million since 1994 and will contribute an anticipated $5.6 million in early learning funding in 2015 to champion access, quality, and professionalizing the workforce.