'Tracking the Truth':  Seattle Pre-K Initiatives

SEATTLE -- There is a huge election battle in Seattle over helping kids before they get to kindergarten.  Proposition 1A and 1B are competing against each other in an attempt to win voters who want to bolster early learning and pre-school.

Much of the fight between Prop. 1A and 1B is over just how many children would be helped by each measure.

Prop. 1A Ad

Here’s an excerpt from the most recent TV ad from supporters of Prop. 1A, which takes aim at the competition.  "1B is a $58 million taxpayer-funded experiment that covers less than 7% of young children,” said the narrator.

Here’s the key claim:  That Prop. 1B covers “less than 7% of young children.”

We find that this statement relies on:  Fuzzy Math

It depends entirely on how you define “young children”.  That statistic considers everyone between the ages of 0-5.  But Prop. 1B targets only 3-4 year olds who are eligible for preschool.  When you consider the number of kids in that age group, Prop. 1B, by providing 2,000 preschool slots, helps about 17% of the city's preschool-aged kids.

Prop. 1B Ad

Supporters of Prop. 1B, which would raise property taxes, often tout that it would fund real preschool slots.

A recent mailer in support of the measure talks about the importance of the proposal and includes this promise:   “Proposition 1B actually funds preschool for all Seattle kids.”

We find this claim:   False

Prop. 1B is a four-year, $58 million levy that would serve 2,000 kids.  That’s well short of providing preschool for all Seattle kids.  Providing preschool for everyone would require a bigger levy.