I have a tremendous amount of respect for Councilman Jim Strickland, and typically I support anything that promotes Pre-K education. The sooner we can educate impoverished children, the better.
However, I have two major concerns that have been eating away at me on this issue.
1) My main problem with it is that it seems this is really just a way to lower the property taxes (while imposing a small yet regressive sales tax).
I can't help but be suspicious that children are being used as a front.
We actually do really need to lower our property taxes though, and, if it weren't for the state preventing us from instituting a payroll/income tax, then we'd have a better way to do it.
2) I am worried about who is going to run the pre-k programs as well. I was assured that it will be public, but does that mean the programs will be run out of public school facilities or are we about to see a lot of ministers profit off of pre-k programs at their churches? If the latter, that would explain some of the ministerial support that the initiative is getting.
Looking at it from a positive perspective, I see a lot of children getting Pre-K education that wouldn’t otherwise get it. Looking at it from a negative perspective, the wealthy get their property tax reduction, and the ministers get to make some money; all in the name of helping children. How wonderfully disgusting.
If you took out the sales tax, put in a progressive payroll tax in its place, ensured that programs would only be run from public school facilities (not churches), and made the board that is being created accountable to either the school board or the city council, then it would be a no brainer.
Unfortunately, that is not the case, and I have a difficult decision to make today when I vote.