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
Democratic Mayoral
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.

o   The 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 million. 

The Mayor’s proposal does not help all the children who need help to attend pre-school

o   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

o   The 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.

o   The 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.

o   If 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.

1 comment:

Felicity Miles said...

I can’t say anything about Pre-K program but I know one thing for sure: all our education system is poorly thought out. Yes, there are lots of advantages, but if it was in my powers, I’d change s many thinks without blink of an eyes. Since I don’t have any power I can only hope for the improvements to comes as today even academic students are OK to buy dissertation proposal and it is not alright!