County Preschool Cost Estimator

AIR's County Preschool Cost Estimator is a user-friendly tool to assess the cost of phasing in access to preschool.

  • While the tool is designed to focus on the cost of preschool at the local level, you can also use it to estimate the cost statewide.
  • You can estimate the cost of a program available to all, or you can select a more targeted initiative, such as a program focused on children in low API school attendance areas, Title I school neighborhoods, or children from low-income families. You can use the tool to estimate the cost of implementing preschool at various projected participation rates.
  • You can choose a timeframe for implementation that ranges from one to 10 years.
  • You can also incorporate inflation, population growth, and infrastructure, such as facilities and workforce development.


Download the AIR County Preschool Cost Estimator:


Data and assumptions underlying the estimator:

  • The Preschool Cost Estimator assumes that preschool programs will build on the existing supply of publicly funded programs with a child development and school readiness focus.
  • At full implementation, the program will therefore consist of upgraded slots in State Preschool, General Child Care and Head Start, and new or newly publicly funded slots in a range of public and private settings.
  • The Estimator is based on the county supply and demand estimates that AIR has developed for each county at the zip code level. Our estimates are based on 2006 data from centralized sources; however, users can manipulate the data to reflect more current local knowledge.
  • The county supply and demand data currently focuses on 4-year-olds. Data on three-year-old children may be added in the future.
  • Cost data are based on proxy budgets that AIR developed to estimate the per child direct cost of a preschool program that meets quality standards. Estimates of preschool staff salary rates are based on California Department of Education Certificated Salaries (2005-06) and Occupational Employment Statistics from Bureau of Labor Statistics (2005). All salary data have been inflation- adjusted to reflect the 2007 wage levels. Teachers with BA degrees are estimated, on average, at the beginning teacher level of compensation in the first 5 years, progressing to the average teacher salary at the 6th year. Per-child costs are rounded, and increase gradually for a phased-in program to reflect increasing levels of teacher qualifications and compensation.
Instructions for the Preschool County Cost Estimator.pdf76.04 KB
PreschoolForAllCostEstimator_PC_4.3.xls443.5 KB
PreschoolForAllCostEstimator_PC07_4.3.xls475 KB
PreschoolForAllCostEstimator_Mac_4.3.xls559.5 KB