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.