Press Room

25,000 signatures gathered to get preschool scholarships on the November ballot

By Angela Pittenger Arizona Daily Star July 6, 2017

Small children hauled four red wagons full of signed petitions into the City of Tucson Election Services office Thursday morning.

The 25,000 signatures were gathered during the past several months by volunteers and parents for Strong Start Tucson, an organization campaigning to create preschool scholarships through a half-cent city sales tax increase...

Strong Start Tucson fills kids’ red wagons with signatures to place preschool education scholarships on City of Tucson November ballot

TUCSON, Ariz. July 6, 2017

Strong Start Tucson turned in more than 25,000 signatures to the City of Tucson Election Services office today. The signatures arrived in style, filling four red Radio Flyer wagons and accompanied by kids, parents and volunteers supporting the campaign to create preschool education scholarships in the City of Tucson. The ballot initiative will be part of the city-wide general election vote set for Tuesday, November 7, 2017.

“We want Tucson to join other visionary cities, counties and states who invest in high-quality preschool as one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce poverty, improve the economic climate of their communities and create a path for each child to be successful,” said Penelope Jacks, chair of the Strong Start Campaign Committee.

Jamie Ratner said he is a living example of what early childhood education offers, giving him a lifelong love of learning and the tools to complete college, a master’s degree and law school.

“Everyone deserves that start. I was lucky, my mom was the director of a preschool, and my education and curiosity to want to know more began at the age of three,” said Ratner, Strong Start Tucson treasurer and a professor at the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. “It’s served me well and I want others to have this opportunity to reach their full potential.” ...

Victoria Steele: Tucson's children deserve a high-quality early education

By Victoria Steele Special to the Arizona Daily Star  Jun 23, 2017 

We have a wonderful opportunity to show who we are as a community — a chance to demonstrate that we truly care about giving our children a strong start for their future.

Everyone knows that a high-quality early childhood education is the most important factor in giving children the power to be successful.

Children who go to high-quality preschool perform better in school, complete more years of education and become productive members of a more educated workforce. There are 14,000 3- and 4-year-olds in Tucson. Currently, only 16 percent of them attend high-quality early education...

Arizona ranks 46th in US in child education, health and family

By Devin Conley Cronkite News  Jun 17, 2017

PHOENIX — Arizona ranks among the five worst states for children’s well-being in education, health, economics and family and community matters, according to the Kids Count annual report.

Arizona was ranked 46th in the country, the Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation says.

Nearly 400,000 Arizona children live in “high-poverty” areas. And six out of ten of Arizona’s three- to four-year-olds are not in preschool, with a child psychologist saying that means their learning is delayed.

Letter: High Quality Preschool


Bill Berk, June 5, 2017
AZ Daily Star Letter to Editor

Congratulations to our local ECE community for ensuring more children attended high quality preschool this year than in years past... 

We will have an even stronger community when we increase enrollment in high quality preschool by 50 percentage points, not just 4...

Pre-K: Decades Worth Of Studies, One Strong Message

KNAU Arizona Public Radio

Some of the nation's top researchers who've spent their careers studying early childhood education recently got together in Washington with one goal ...

Why affordable child care is good for all of us

ANGELA NELSON, Mother Nature Network
May 2, 2017

A new long-term study finds that high-quality child care can help poor mothers and their children lead more successful lives.

Tempe could spend $3 million annually on free preschool for children living in poverty

, The Republic | azcentral.comPublished 9:54 a.m. MT March 28, 2017 | Updated 7:41 a.m. MT March 29, 2017
The Tempe City Council will vote this spring to spend $3 million annually to provide free preschool to 3- and 4-year-old children living in poverty...

A Path Out Of Poverty: Career Training + Quality Pre K

People Laughed When Bill De Blasio First Proposed Free Pre-K. Now He's Expanding It.

Huffington Post Article April 26, 2017

When Bill de Blasio ran for New York City mayor in 2013, his plan to enact a universal preschool program for 4-year-olds was treated more like a lofty...

New York City Will Offer Free Preschool for All 3-Year-Olds

NY Times Article April, 24 2017

The plan would expand Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature prekindergarten program slowly, starting in two districts, in the Bronx and Brooklyn, next year.


Tucson, AZ January 2017 - The Women's Foundation of Southern Arizona releases report. What Arizona Leaders Need to Know.


Strong Start Tucson Announces Broad List of Early Supporters

Tucson, AZ, December 16, 2016– The Strong Start Tucson Citizen’s Ballot Initiative Campaign has picked up early support.  Momentum has already begun to build only one month after the official kickoff event.

“The YWCA of Tucson and Southern Arizona proudly endorses this local effort to provide access to high-quality preschool for Tucson’s families as a means to empowering women who are reentering the workforce, particularly small business entrepreneurs.  High-quality preschool is more expensive than sending your child to college and many families simply cannot afford it. Strong Start Tucson is one more way we can help level the playing field for women in business,” said YWCA CEO, Kelly Fryer.

Local Leaders Launch Campaign to Improve the Lives of Children in our Community.

Tucson, AZ, November 15, 2016– The Strong Start Tucson campaign kickoff event will be held this Thursday November 17th, 5:30-7:00 PM at Make Way for Books, 700 N Stone Ave. The event is open to the public. 

Letter to the Editor

I adopted my grandchildren when they were very young. While researching preschools, I was disheartened to learn that high quality child care had become unaffordable for many families with preschool-age children....

Bonnie Stevens | AZ Daily Star November 7, 2016

$50 million for scholarships

Half-cent sales tax sought to improve access to Tucson preschools

...“We’re confident the support is there and past votes by Tucsonans show they’re willing to spend for education and to give every child an opportunity,” she said. “Many have asked us why we are not doing this as a statewide initiative, and it’s because we know Tucson voters are more committed to children than the rest of the state has shown itself to be.”...

By  October 31, 2016


Preschool is $$$$$$$. This proposed sales-tax increase could help Tucson families

 Alexis Huicochea, Oct 19, 2016

A group of early childhood education advocates are looking to make high-quality preschool programs accessible and affordable for Tucson families...

Showing 2 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • commented 2016-12-14 13:31:50 -0700
    Hi there! My name is Morgan Kyrklund. I’m a reporter at Tucson News Now. Would like to chat with someone about a story working on. 520-405-4762 or

  • commented 2016-10-21 08:05:24 -0700
    Great Article! Thank you Alexis Huicochea.
Donate Volunteer Endorsement