“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Democratic Mayoral Candidate Ed Delaney Attacks Mayor Ballard's Pre-K Program As Inadequate, Poorly Thought Out
State Representative Ed Delaney today kicked off the 2015 mayoral election season with a press
Candidate Ed Delaney
conference in which the veteran Democratic lawmaker took aim at the Ballard administration's pre-K program, including Ballard's plan to fund it with the elimination of the local homestead property tax credit. That approach, which would result in only some residents facing property tax hikes, also acts to raid tax revenue from school districts in Marion County.
In a press release following the conference, Delaney outlined his criticism of Ballard's program:
The Mayor’s pre-k proposal does too little and drains
existing programs already under stress
o By the Mayor's own estimate there are nearly
6,000 children in poverty who could benefit from decent pre-school education.
His proposal would reach less than 25% of children in poverty. His proposal
does nothing for the remaining 75% of children in poverty and nothing for those
children whose parents cannot afford preschool.
Mayor would finance his modest idea by taking funds away from public schools,
public libraries, IndyGo Transit and Eskanazi Hospital. Let me repeat that:
every cent of his proposal will result in harm to existing services including
the tens of thousands of children in our public schools. This is robbing Peter to pay
Paul. In doing this the Mayor would eliminate a Homestead Credit
that has benefited the schools and reduced taxes for homeowners. I am handing
you a chart to show the exact costs to our schools and other public facilities.
To take just one example, the Mayor will take $922,700 per year for 5 years
from the Franklin Township Schools alone. That school system is already under
financial stress. Note that in the process of cutting our schools and city
services the Mayor would also increase taxes on homeowners by $3.7
The Mayor’s proposal does not help all
the children who need help to attend pre-school
is costly but it is money well spent. According to the Mayor's estimate it
costs from $4700 to $7000 per year. His proposal would only help one of four
poor children not now in pre-school. It would leave everyone above the poverty
level to pay the full-cost of pre-school whether their parents make
$35,000 or $350,000 a year. Such a program cannot be labelled
"public" education, yet he would fund 75% of the cost of his program
from public school dollars.
The Mayor’s proposal is driven by the
Election Cycle not by good planning
State is slowly beginning to create a structure to support preschool with state
dollars. I am urging the Legislature to move more rapidly to fund a state-wide
pre-school program. In the long run pre-school education will lower our crime
rate and improve academic performance. It only succeeds if the approach is
thoughtful and widespread. It should not be done in a hurry because the Mayor
is facing an election.
Mayor has been under siege over the murder rate in our capital city. It is only
natural that he wants to respond. He is right that over the long haul
pre-school education will lower our crime rate and strengthen our community.
But we need to have a thoughtful approach to this long-term program. It simply
cannot succeed if it is too small. It cannot generate support if it undercuts
everything from school budgets to public transit and public health.
the Mayor needs political cover, let him get it by engaging in a debate over
how to fund pre-k, who gets help, what role the public schools will have and
who will run the system. I am prepared to engage in that debate with the Mayor
and the other Democrats seeking that office.