Marin Horizon to Open New School in Marin City

By Kendall Lafranchi

Marin Horizon is set to open a Pre-K school for two-year-old children in Marin City in the fall of 2017. The school will be in partnership with Community Action Marin (CAM) and will move into the two-acre lot where CAM’s Manzanita Children’s Center currently resides.

Marin Horizon has two current locations in Mill Valley. The school wanted to expand into the Marin City area because they saw a gap in the presence of early childhood education.

“[Marin City and Sausolito students] end up graduating in the eighth grade, and getting to Tam totally behind, and unable to keep up,” said Marin Horizon diversity and inclusion director Stevie Lee. “If the key to success is education and the key to getting out of poverty is education, then why is it that kids in Marin City aren’t getting that good education that they need?”

The Pre-K school will be limited to Marin City residents in an effort to build a strong educational foundation for kids in the area.

“Three-year-olds in Marin City are paying $7,000 a year [for childcare], whereas when you look at two-year-olds in Mill Valley who go to Marin Horizon, they are paying about $20,000 and there’s a big difference in the education there,” Lee said. “You get what you pay for. That’s where the disparity starts, and that’s where the poverty continues.”

Marin Horizon is seeking funding for the upcoming school year from the Marin Community Foundation (MCF). One of their objectives is to “increase the number of low-income children and children of color who are prepared for academic success through access to quality Pre-K-3 education,” according to their website.

Lee is hopeful that a one time grant from the MCF will be able to sustain the school for decades. “They [are planning on] supporting us by giving the funds for our first year. The plan is that in the next five years, we will expand from working with just two year olds, to two to five year olds in Marin City.” Lee said. “And we know that if we were given a $6 million grant, it would sustain the program for 45 years.”