On Monday Night, the City-County Council invested in the future of our city by passing a Pre-K proposal that will fund educational opportunities for 1,000 young citizens of our city. It was no doubt a great night for our city, but it also came with eight no votes.
The Indianapolis Business Journal did some poking around and found out that the no votes came from Councillors opposed to the education plan because they believe that public safety needs to be addressed first or that the state should be funding the program rather than the city.
Personally, I believe very much in early childhood education. It's fundamental to the learning process of our children as they get older, and there are studies that show that it makes a difference in crime. I also believe that we have needs now that need to be addressed when it comes to infrastructure and public safety. I just see the overwhelming benefits that this $40 million public/private investment comes with.
I do take issue with the IBJ on one thing. This really is not Mayor Greg Ballard's plan at all. While the Mayor did talk about early education as one of his goals in his crime fighting plan, he did not specifically make a proposal. Instead, he asked the Council to simply hand over the homestead tax credit revenue without any strings attached to early education.
The Council wisely said no, and it's taken its lumps. The work behind the scenes began almost immediately, and the result was a deal hammered out by the Mayor's Office and Deputy Mayor Jason Kloth and the City-County Council. It was passed by a wide bi-partisan margin. They got something done for the better of the city here.