Toledo City Council approves money to support universal pre-K fundraising

Toledo City Council approves money to support universal pre-K fundraising

TOLEDO (WTOL) - Toledo city leaders addressed universal pre-K Tuesday night with a plan to use taxpayer dollars for a fundraiser.

The mayor’s office has announced it in the past that universal pre-K wouldn’t cost residents anything.

Multiple City Council Members wanted to make clear that while there are taxpayer dollars going toward a $35,000 consulting deal, they expect to get millions back from this investment to help bring universal pre-K to Toledo.

"In the grand scheme of things, a small expenditure for a very big reward and that's fairly uncommon to see," Councilman Nick Komives said.

Council approved $ 35,000 from the city’s general fund to go to a contractor, whose job will be to solicit donations and grant money to fund an independent universal pre-K program.

"Moving the process forward with $35,000 in a process that could bring in $6 million I think was a good expenditure of funds," Councilman Tom Waniewski said.

Right now, an independent committee is deciding what type of pre-K would be the best fit for Toledo. At the same time, the mayor and his administration want to make sure private funding is lined up once the decision is made because the program will be expensive.

"We know at this point that this is a $4.8 to $12 million dollar annual investment," Legislative Director Gretchen DeBacker said.

Currently, 80 percent of Toledo public school students are behind academically before they begin kindergarten. With that statistic in the back of their mind, the majority of city council approved this funding to keep momentum behind the pre-K program.

“It sparks a good conversation that I think we need to keep in motion if we want to see our city more vibrant and better for everybody,” Komives said.

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