SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Following the successful launch of a program offering free tuition
at City College of San Francisco this fall, Supervisors Jane Kim and Norman Yee are now leading a push for a universal childcare program.

Kim asked the city controller’s office Tuesday to analyze the costs and benefits of providing what she described as “universal, affordable childcare.”

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Kim said she is exploring a draft ballot measure that would let the city implement such a childcare system and looking at possible ways to fund it. A sales tax measure with the same aims is already in the works in Alameda County, she said.

“Building on the success of Free City College last year I am excited and hopeful about introducing a measure next year that will get us closer to universal and affordable child care for all San Francisco families,” Kim said.

Yee, who is, like Kim, a former school board member, noted that the city has made some efforts in the past toward improving childcare access with its Preschool for All program. The program, however, which subsidizes preschool for a limited number of four year olds, “fell way short of the
needs in San Francisco,” Yee said.

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“San Francisco can again showcase the leadership that is sorely lacking on a national level and make this a reality here,” Yee said of the universal preschool program.

Kim said that nationwide, 60 percent of households with children do not have a stay at home parent, and center-based childcare for an infant in more than half the states in the United States costs more than tuition and fees at four-year public universities.

Kim cited a Council of Economic Advisors’ report showing that access to affordable childcare increases maternal employment and improves children’s educational attainment, employment prospects and earnings as adults.

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