Multnomah County Auditor Says She Should Monitor Preschool for All

County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson was the architect of that program.

Playtime at a Preschool for All contractor. (Brian Brose)

At the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners meeting April 4, County Auditor Jennifer McGuirk will call an uncomfortable question.

McGuirk, who is independently elected, objects to a provision in county code that would allow Chair Jessica Vega Pederson to appoint an independent contractor to audit the Preschool for All program.

As a commissioner, Vega Pederson was the architect of that program, which, as WW has reported, raised far more money than voters were led to expect, but served fewer new students and created fewer new programs than projected (“The Itsy Bitsy Project,” Nov. 8, 2023).

“I am asking the Board to remove this language because it isn’t needed,” McGuirk explained in a March 29 newsletter. “The County Charter already requires the County Auditor to conduct performance audits of all county operations and financial affairs, which includes Preschool For All.”

Vega Pederson responds: “Preschool for All is an opportunity for every 3- and 4-year-old in Multnomah County to experience a joyful, quality preschool experience. Our commitment to voters is that this program will have the oversight and accountability to achieve that goal. That’s a goal the auditor and I share.”

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