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Walsh Aims To Double Boston Preschool Enrollment By 2018

BOSTON — Boston Mayor Marty Walsh wants to double the number of 4-year-olds in the city enrolled in preschool by 2018.

Walsh on Tuesday announced the creation of an advisory committee to make recommendations by November on how the city can expand access to its full-day preschool, or K1, program.

Approximately 6,000 4-year-olds currently live in Boston, but the city only has room in its preschool program for 2,200 of them. Many others attend private programs, but the city estimates 25 percent of the city’s 4-year-olds do not attend preschool at all.

“This will be a major step towards closing the achievement gap and will give our kids the start they deserve,” Walsh said during an event to announce the initiative at the Patrick J. Kennedy School in East Boston Tuesday afternoon.

Mayors around the country are pushing universal preschool as an antidote to income inequality.

Walsh said the chief obstacles will be finding enough classroom space and finding the money. Cost estimates range from $18 to $28 million per year.

With reporting by WBUR’s David Scharfenberg. 

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