One of the salient themes that surfaced from the eleven Town Hall Meetings that First 5 San Francisco hosted was how Preschool for All’s universal approach has helped both low- and moderate-income families afford preschool and stay in San Francisco. These families’ experiences mirror the data that are available on San Francisco’s rising cost of living and diminishing affordability.
Using line items from the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator and updating the costs for housing and childcare based on local data, here is what we can reasonably expect a budget to look like for a family of four (two adults, one infant and one preschool-age child)*:

As we can see, the cost of child care nearly equals the cost of housing in San Francisco. This poses a very real barrier for low-to-moderate income families in terms of being able to stay and raise their children here.  The eligibility requirements for federal and state-subsidized preschool programs exclude a third of San Francisco’s moderate income families, which further limits access. The Preschool for All Program closes this gap for many San Francisco’s families who otherwise would not be able to afford preschool.

Through PFA’s universal approach, high quality preschool is rendered accessible for San Francisco’s low and moderate income families.  Maintaining this universal approach will be key to building the City’s affordability for the families that contribute to San Francisco’s legacy of diversity.

*http://www.epi.org/resources/budget/

**Taken from the 2012 American Community Survey

*** $3,600 is the average rental cost of a 2-bd apartment in San Francisco. $3,350 includes the average cost of full-time infant/toddler care plus the average cost of full-time preschool in San Francisco.