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Estimating state administrative costs for Washington's universal pre-k program

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Ensuring capacities when/where families need them requires sophisticated state and regional capacities to identify and prepare new providers, workforce, and facilities. Underestimating state administrative costs can result in missed targets, either in the quantity of preschool slots, their quality, or both. It is believed this issue is not unique to Washington State; while not all states are at a point in their preschool development where they can devote time to this type of zero-based budgeting, it is reasonable to expect that some are—and most will be in the not-too-distant future. Therefore, Washington's experience with the SACQ serves as an example to other states, and an opportunity for them to share their administrative cost data, key learnings, and best practices for the advancement of all preschool programs around the country. (author abstract)

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