We know that investing in children and youth brings multiple benefits to our community. When we increase graduation rates and send more young people to college, we grow our workforce and our economy. When we invest early in infants and children, we prevent many problems from developing down the road. The health of our community depends on our children and young people.
Sac Kids First has been successful in placing a measure on the March 2020 ballot that would require the City of Sacramento to set aside 2.5% of its unrestricted revenues, or about $12 million annually, for children and youth services. Not less than 90% of all monies in the Fund must be used for direct services for children and youth. A Citizen’s Planning and Oversight Commission appointed by the Mayor and City Council will be responsible for developing a strategic plan and an annual evaluation. Both nonprofits and public agencies will be eligible to apply for funding to implement strategies through a competitive, transparent process. The measure does not increase taxes.
In 1996, Oakland created a Children’s Fund. About 24,000 children and youth have benefitted annually from these investments. Independent evaluations have shown that the Fund has made a significant difference in many areas, including improving school attendance. Richmond and San Francisco have also created Children’s Funds.
It’s time now for Sacramento to step forward and invest in our kids and in prevention in a more transparent, thoughtful and meaningful way. By requiring the City to set aside a modest amount of funding each year to support children and youth services, we will provide a stable, reliable funding source for summer and afterschool services, mental health supports, services to prevent homeless among youth and young adults, and job training. Through the Oversight Commission, we will have real transparency and accountability in how we invest public funding in children and youth.
On April 18th of 2019 we submitted over 38,500 valid signatures of Sacramento voters to the City Clerk to start this process. On June 17th of 2019, we received news from the City Clerk that we had submitted enough signatures to qualify for the 2020 ballot. On November 12, 2019, the Mayor and Council voted to place the measure on the March 3, 2020 election. Please join us and volunteer!