TAYLOR FAMILY GIFT WILL BUILD GREAT FUTURES FOR SLPS PRESCHOOLERS
On May 27, the family of Jack Taylor, the founder of Enterprise Rent-a-Car, made a historic gift of $22 million to youth and children-serving organizations in St. Louis. The St. Louis Public Schools Foundation received $5 million, designated to the District’s early childhood education programs. “This is a monumental gift,” said St. Louis Public Schools Foundation President, Jane Donahue. “The Taylor family will help make access to quality, free preschool education a reality for so many of our children and families.” The donation is also the largest in the Foundation’s history.
Since 2011, Saint Louis Public Schools has made substantial investments with some one-time funding ( from the Desegregation Capital Fund) to expand its early childhood education from serving 1,200 students to engaging more than 2,300 students. It’s seeing the rewards. Within SLPS, current fourth graders who attended SLPS preschool are scoring dramatically higher both in communication arts and in math than are students who did not attend SLPS preschool. By 2018, the goal is for 80% of preschool children to achieve kindergarten readiness, and that, by 3rd grade, those graduates are reading at grade level. As the District gains momentum in delivering high-quality early childhood education, it must also be proactive in ensuring that the progress is sustained. Currently, Missouri’s public school funding formula does not cover Pre-K expenses, and the one-time funding from the Desegregation Capital Fund will expire in school year 2017-2018.
“The gift from the Taylor family comes at a critical moment. Providing strong early childhood education is one of District’s top priorities, and this funding will help ensure that we continue a commitment to our youngest learners,” noted Saint Louis Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Kelvin Adams.