Plans for Universal Pre-K in Chicago Are Moving Forward, Emanuel Says

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans Wednesday to make full-day, pre-kindergarten universal for 4-year-old children across the city.

Emanuel said the rollout will begin with an additional 3,700 full-day seats at Chicago Public Schools in the fall.

The goal within four years is to make pre-kindergarten classes from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. available to every single child in Chicago, the mayor said.

Emanuel announced the initiative while touring a preschool classroom at Truman College, choosing that location for the City Colleges' robust early childhood education program.

He said the 3,700 spots this fall will go first to the children and families most in need, with a priority on families whose household income is $45,000 a year or less.

The program will cost $20 million in the next year, a figure that the mayor's office said has already been factored into the City budget - fully-funded and ready to go.

The specific facilities that will run the programs are not known yet, as City officials continue to research where the slots will open.

Site-specific announcements will be made by the end of the summer, Emanuel's office said.

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