(January 23, 2016 – Cincinnati, OH) – In the next steps toward providing access to quality preschool for 3 and 4 year olds, United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s Executive Committee today appointed a 15-person Board of Directors to lead the preschool expansion effort in Cincinnati. The Board will implement the preschool expansion plan, passed by voters in November 2016 as part of the 5-year Cincinnati Public Schools levy. United Way of Greater Cincinnati was selected by Cincinnati Public Schools as the trusted entity to oversee preschool expansion in Cincinnati.
The Board consists of parents, educators, preschool providers, business leaders and community leaders. Board members were nominated by the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Cincinnati Public Schools and Cincinnati Preschool Promise. The Board will oversee day-to-day operations to ensure families are prepared to take advantage of preschool tuition assistance beginning in fall 2017 and will increase the number of quality rated preschool providers with Quality Improvement Grants expected to be available spring 2017.
“I am delighted to reach this milestone of having a highly qualified Board in place to act on our community’s desire, and significant investment from taxpayers, to expand preschool within Cincinnati Public Schools and community-based programs,” said Rob Reifsnyder, President and CEO of UWGC. According to Reifsnyder, “The diverse composition of the Board reflects the cross section of the community that came together to support Issue 44 and quality preschool for all children. Michael Graham’s leadership of this effort as chair, and the competence of the entire Board, gives me confidence that this preschool expansion program will move us closer to our goal: that more of our community’s youngest children will be ready for school.”
"We are excited to see that the Board is in place and are anxious to enhance our efforts to expand preschool capacity throughout Cincinnati," said Ericka Copeland-Dansby, president of the Cincinnati Board of Education. "The work of this Board will complement our District’s preschool expansion efforts, which will result in hundreds of new preschool seats by this fall."
“The new Board will ensure the preschool expansion program has all the necessary checks and balances,” said Gwen L. Robinson, president and CEO of the Community Action Agency, which operates one of the largest Head Start programs in the region. Robinson also serves on the Cincinnati Preschool Promise Steering Committee. “We know how important preschool is to making sure students get a good start in life and become successful adults, so we’ve got to get this right.”
The preschool program Board of Directors leadership includes:
- Father Michael Graham, Chair; President, Xavier University
- Deborah Allsop, Board Secretary; Executive Director and CEO, Families FORWARD
- Pastor Ennis Tait, Board Treasurer; Pastor, Church of the Living God
Preschool program Board members include:
- Terri England, Director and Administrator, New Horizons Child Care Center
- Jasmine Jones, parent
- Micah Kamrass, attorney, Manley Burke
- Gary Lindgren, Executive Director, Cincinnati Business Committee and Cincinnati Regional Business Committee
- Kimya Moyo, retired teacher
- Dr. O’dell Owens, President and CEO, Interact for Health
- John Pepper, retired CEO and Chairman, P&G
- Cheryl Rose, Senior Vice President, Hawthorn PNC Family Wealth
- Laura Sanregret, teacher, Dater Montessori
- Steve Shifman, President and CEO, Michelman
- Sallie Westheimer, retired President and CEO, 4C for Children
- Flora (Kathy) Young, Education Committee Chair, NAACP
Additional information is provided in the attached fact sheet. Parents or preschool providers who have questions can visit www.askpreschoolpromise.org
In November 2016, voters approved a 5-year Cincinnati Public Schools levy which provides $33 million a year to strengthen K-12 education and $15 million a year to expand access to affordable, quality preschool. The taxpayer investment with this levy is $5.35 per week for a home valued at $100,000. The levy passed with 63% of the votes and was broadly supported by business, community and education leaders. The Cincinnati preschool program goal is to ultimately expand access to two years of quality preschool through tuition assistance for all Cincinnati children. With this funding through the Cincinnati Public Schools levy, the Cincinnati preschool program will begin providing access to those who need it most – primarily families below 200% of the federal poverty level.