Good investment | Nonprofit, businesses aid education

June 21, 2013
Author: Salt Lake Tribune | Editorial

People like those who run Goldman Sachs and J.B. Pritzker don’t make investments without due diligence. These banking and investment experts have seen the mounting evidence of the academic, social and economic benefits of early-childhood education and believe instruction for at-risk children will bring a solid return.

The United Way of Salt Lake wants to convince Utah legislators their faith is warranted and has struck a $7 million deal with the two companies to expand access to public preschool for up to 3,700 low-income children. The money is a loan from the private investors, who expect to be repaid over 12 years at 5 percent interest.

The first installment of $1 million will be used to open 450 more slots in a popular preschool program at Title I schools in Granite and Park City school districts. The United Way has committed to repay that initial loan, called a "social investment." The agency’s plan is to show how well preschool works to bring at-risk kids up to the level of school readiness of their more advantaged peers.

In order to access the remaining $6 million of the loan, United Way must persuade other private-sector investors and Utah legislators to provide funding to repay the continuing loans.

Research and the success of the Granite and Park City districts’ programs show the investment is sound. Early-childhood education boosts children’s achievement in school and success in jobs and higher education. In the long run, having more children graduate from high school and college with marketable skills saves tax dollars.

Evaluations of 3- and 4-year-olds who entered the program in 2006 showed 33 percent were so far behind on fundamentals — colors, shapes, letters and numbers — that they probably would have needed special education, and some still may have fallen far behind.

But after participating in preschool, 95 percent of those students did not need special-education services. That saves an estimated $2,607 per-pupil per year, according to a study that tracked students through 2010, sponsored by the United Way, Voices for Utah Children and the district.

J.B. Pritzker, president of the Chicago-based J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, said in a statement, "Investing early and intelligently ... in early learning reduces social and economic inequality and builds a better workforce and a stronger nation."

Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, and Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, this year sponsored a bill to set up similar public-private investments, but it sadly failed, opposed by arch-conservatives.


School year ends but reading effort continues
July 23, 2014 Author: Nadine Wimmer Teachers at Roosevelt Elementary told students if they would work hard to meet their reading goals, the school would petition for a helicopter visit.

School Supplies Needed
June 13, 2014 Author: by Tom Busselberg School may be out for most students, but there will be those pencils, pens, notebooks, and more that are needed when classes resume in the fall. That’s why United Way of Salt Lake, which includes Davis County, is seeking school supplies for those in need.

'Stuff the Bus' with donated school supplies
June 9, 2014 Author: Deseret News United Way of Salt Lake is encouraging the community to “Stuff the Bus” and donate school supplies to help 8,500 children get the tools they need to learn.
Give. Donate to United Way.
Advocate. Champion the Cause.
Volunteer. Be the Change.
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Face Book Watch us on You Tube Visit The Hub


Jerilyn Stowe
Vice President of Marketing & Communication 801.736.7709