KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It was a proposal championed by former Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James: Universal pre-K education for children across the city.
However, that idea was voted down 66 to 34 percent by voters in April.
Leaders with the United Inner City Services said in an effort to fill the gap, they've added another preschool location in a heavily-populated transit stop.
The new expansion, UICS Metro Child and Family Development Center, is located at the Metro Center facility at 3827 Troost Avenue.
This is UICS' second location. The St. Mark Center, its other location, has been in existence for 52 years.
With closer access to one of the busiest metro stops in Kansas City, leaders said this expansion will provide more opportunities for families who have been looking at early childhood education options.
"For us, we have so many families that transportation is the number one challenge about why they're not able to get their children to school, we're excited to get the opportunity to partner with KCATA," UICS CEO Deidre Anderson said. "They actually own the facility. This is one of the most heavily traveled stops in the city for bus transportation."
The center will serve students as young as 6 weeks old to 5 years old. Anderson said they hope to help children make their transition into kindergarten as smooth as possible.
"When you think about how much of the brain is formed under the age of 3, everything that we're doing is essential and it really matters so we don't want to wait until we're in third grade and we're assessing their reading skills," Anderson said. "All that they need to get prepared to read, to get prepared to learn happens under the age of 5."
The center plans to use a mixed-income delivery model.
"Families that are able to tuition, there's a tuition-based approach," Anderson said. "There's also state daycare subsidy for families that are qualifying for that type of assistance, and then we'll also be partnering with local charter schools where we will be supporting children that are eligible through a program where there's funding through the state."
The center is scheduled to open in mid-August, serving about 120 students. Leaders are hoping to fill a few more positions at its new center.
For more information on UICS, click here.