By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With the soda tax signed into law, Philadelphia is looking for high quality pre-K providers that can start taking students as soon as the tax takes effect.

The ink had barely dried on the sweetened beverage tax bill when the city issued “RFQ’s,” Requests for Qualifications from two types of providers: One, nationally accredited or state designated “high quality” centers, who can apply to expand the number of seats they can offer, and two, small or start-up providers who want to get connected to resources, training and support to become high quality.

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Mayor Kenney says it’s important to elevate neighborhood-based centers.

“That’s where the children are,” Kenney said. “The other issue is the staff should come from the neighborhoods to get everybody up to speed so they can go in and teach our children a better way of life and that’s a win, win, win for everybody.

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And Mayor Kenney says he’s committed to seeing no one is left out.

“We’ve met with the moms and pops in the neighborhoods, in their houses, in the home-based pre-K,” the mayor said, “and I’ve given them my word that that’s where we need to start.”

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The city would begin enrolling 2,000 children in January when the tax kicks in, if it survives a court challenge by the Beverage Industry, which considers the tax unconstitutional.