March-April 2022 Advocate: Campaign for free universal pre-K in SSF

Social Justice in the Community

Campaign for free universal preschool in South San Francisco gathering signatures for November ballot

by Doniella Maher, AFT 1493 Cañada Chapter Co-Chair

After a successful launch in early January, the signature gathering campaign to get a measure on the ballot to provide universal FREE preschool in South San Francisco has been steadily building momentum.  Organizers have collected a third of the 6,000 signatures needed by June 3rd to qualify for the November ballot. The effort is entirely grassroots and dependent on community volunteers who meet every weekend to knock on doors in South San Francisco. They have been joined by volunteers from the Mother’s Club, Faith in Action, the San Mateo branch of the NAACP, and members of our own local, AFT 1493.

The measure aims to target a historically underpaid profession that has long disproportionately included women and people of color.  From a parent standpoint, access to affordable care is one of the most significant expenses outside of housing, which also has a disproportionate effect on mothers who are unable to return to work while their children are young. The ballot measure aims to address both of these issues.  The Early Care and Education for All measure will tax the largest corporations in South San Francisco to create a fund to provide free preschool for all South San Francisco kids, ages 2.5 to 5 years old, and to increase teacher wages significantly.  All teachers and providers who opt-in to the program will be reimbursed for student seats, increased teacher wages, and will be eligible for funding for expansion and shared resources.

The campaign is building an impressive list of endorsers, including community groups and elected officials. More information about the campaign and links to donate can be found at

If you are interested in coming out to gather signatures or would like to help in another way, please contact Doniella Maher at