The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors at its April 26 meeting allotted $190,000 to expand early childhood education in an effort to boost literacy rates in the City of San Mateo.
The one-time allotment will provide enhanced services, classroom materials and teacher training for 76 children up to 5 years of age, through June 2017. The funds will also allow families to participate in the Raising A Reader Book Bag Program and children to receive health and mental health screenings.
Funding will be provided to Peninsula Family Service, a nonprofit organization based in San Mateo, to boost educational opportunities at its First Step Early Learning Center and Downtown Early Learning Center. The funds will come from Measure A, a half-cent countywide sales tax approved by voters in November 2012.
“We have too many children in San Mateo County who are not reading at grade level by the third grade,” said Supervisor Carole Groom, who recommended the funding and whose 2nd District includes San Mateo. “We know the best way to help close the achievement gap is to support early childhood education and put very young children on the road to literacy.”
This is the second Measure A grant this month to enhance early learning. On April 12, the Board approved a one-time allotment of $245,000 to Peninsula Family Service for classroom supplies, teacher training and other support at two centers in Daly City, one in the Bayshore neighborhood near the Cow Palace and a second on Mission Street.
That grant, recommended by District 5 Supervisor Adrienne Tissier, also comes from Measure A.
Supervisors have placed a high priority on early education and boosting literacy in communities where third-grade reading levels are low. They have committed millions of dollars in Measure A funding to support an effort called The Big Lift, a partnership with the San Mateo County Office of Education and Silicon Valley Community Foundation to provide high-quality learning experiences from preschool to third grade.
The goal is to provide opportunities for all students to thrive regardless of family income. Countywide, 43 percent of children are not reading proficiently by the third grade.
While early learning funding to Peninsula Family Service is separate from The Big Lift, the grants support the goal of improving literacy countywide through high-quality preschool, summer learning programs and engaging families.
More on Measure A funding here: https://smcgov.org/cmo