Ballot Measure Initiative to Raise Locally Sourced, Sustainable Funding To Make Out of School Time Programs for Washington County Kids Affordable and Accessible
Washington County Kids, a local non-profit has joined forces with Friends of Washington County, a political action committee to request the Washington County Board of Commissioners place an initiative on the May 2021 ballot to allow voters to approve a modest property tax. If it passes, approximately, $23 Million per year for 5 years will be raised to increase the capacity of existing programs, start new programs in underserved communities, and lower the cost to lower income families for before and after-school childcare, early learning, summer and nutrition programs for our kids.
At 35 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, the average homeowner would pay about $104 per year. The cost of early learning childcare in Oregon averages about $16,000 a year per child. After school care costs approximately $12,000 per year, per child. This initiative could dramatically lower that cost.
Poverty & Homelessness Are on the Rise in Washington County
Before COVID-19, our County had 2,857 homeless youth. 36.8% of our kids were on free and reduced-price lunch at school. Between 2007 and 2019, the number of schools serving 50%+ of their students free or reduced-price lunches rose from 10 to 38. Thankfully, delayed rent and mortgage protections are in place. But when those protections end, even more families will experience sudden homelessness.
Families Lack Access
In Washington County, 82% of children living in poverty are under the age of 5 years old. Except for a lucky few, most do not have access to affordable, quality childcare. Just 35% of K-12 kids are served by programs offered by local non-profits and public after school programs. With kids attending on-line classes, parents who work have even fewer options than before the pandemic. Once schools reopen, many of the existing programs may not be fully up and running or able to accept as many children as they previously served. During the summer, access will be worse. Children who do not attend summer programs often lose ground and return to school in the fall having lost up to 24% of what they learned.
There is Good News
Children and teens are resilient. With the right supports in place, they can have access to a path to success. Out of School Time programs are one very important ingredient that we can fund. We can provide equal access to these opportunities. The first step is to have our County Commissioners place the Washington County Kids Initiative on the May 2021 ballot.
How You Can Help
Or contact Susan Bender Phelps President@WashcoKidsFund.com