Southern California Program
Los Angeles Universal Preschool
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) is undertaking a study in partnership with the Utah Policy Innovation Lab and the Pomona Unified School District (PUSD) to determine the feasibility of Pay for Success, an innovative funding mechanism whereby private investors lend up-front capital to support proven programs. Repayment of principal plus an investment return is made with savings realized by the public sector, in this case the school district. Only half of PUSD’s entering kindergartners have attended preschool. The goal of the project is to provide an ongoing, stable source of funding for early education programs for low-income children that will lead to higher rates of literacy, graduation and college readiness. The study’s first phase is underway to assess the developmental milestones and kindergarten readiness outcomes achieved by LAUP supported programs. A preliminary analysis verified that children who attended LAUP programs outperformed those that did not in the areas of literacy, math and social/emotional skills. The next phase of the feasibility study will identify both the optimal target population and a control group and quantify the value of increased school readiness and a reduction in special education and remediation services based on the district’s administrative data. A W. M. Keck Foundation grant is supporting the cost-savings analysis of LAUP’s programs to determine the viability of structuring an outcomes-oriented contract that would be attractive to PUSD as the payor. If the pilot of Pay for Success in Pomona proves successful, there is potential to scale the funding model in other high need school districts in Los Angeles County.
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