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Multnomah County opens enrollment for Preschool for All program

Preschool for All enrollment is now open in Multnomah County, and the county says almost 700 spots are open to kids between 3 and 4 years old.
Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 12:15 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Preschool for All enrollment is now open in Multnomah County, and the county says almost 700 spots are open to kids between 3 and 4 years old.

More than 36 programs at 48 different locations around Multnomah County will provide free preschool. All kids who turn 3 or 4 years old by Sept. 1 will be eligible.

On Wednesday, the county began accepting applications for their Preschool for All program, which extends free, early education to kids across the county. By Friday, 500 applications already poured in from parents eager to get one of the 675 spots available.

The program, which county officials say is a step toward universal childcare, is funded by the income tax of the highest earners in the county, and it has received a lot of support from both providers and schools partnering with the county, as well as voters.

Officials say 64 percent of voters in Multnomah County approved the measure to extend early education across the county back in Nov. 2020.

“I feel like it spoke to an unmet need parents have struggled with for a long time,” said Leslee Barnes, leader of the Preschool for All initiative. “It really resonated with voters. Now is the time to invest in this for the future.”

Now, county officials are vetting hundreds of applications, giving families with the least access to preschool first priority.

“Children that don’t speak English for a first language, children with inclusive needs, so really what are the places and ways we can find preschool for them as well,” Barnes asked.

Officials say kids approved for this year’s program will start class in September.

If your kid doesn’t get a spot this year, officials are hoping to add 500 spots to the program each year moving forward.

To apply for Preschool for All, click here.