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Letter: Public Pre-K programs not what voters wanted

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Larry Jackson


Received: Nov. 26

I’m very concerned that BCSC will choose to not accept the real meaning and importance of the recent voter’s rejection of the tax referendum supporting pre-kindergarten at BCSC. True, the majority of voters are in no mood for a property tax increase, but that is only part of the message. Many question the wisdom and necessity of any kind of Pre-K program at BCSC. It should never have been started in the first place.

Few, if any, doubt the value of early childhood education. Maybe in some communities a public Pre-K program makes sense, but not in Columbus, Indiana, where we have many excellent private programs.

We must recognize and respect the fact that not all parents desire Pre-K education for their children. I don’t agree with that thinking, but, as parents, that is their right. For financially strapped parents that wish a Pre-K education for their children, there should be funding available from various foundations in Bartholomew County for full or partial vouchers.

A relatively inexpensive voucher program makes far more sense than a bloated multimillion-dollar public Pre-K program. One has to question the real intent of BCSC. Why would they offer services from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for a few hours of Pre-K instruction each day? It sounds more like taxpayer-subsidized day care than education. Is that what BCSC really has in mind? Do we want our local school corporation to become a glorified baby-sitting service? Of course not!

We all need to be diligent in making sure that BCSC does not try an end run and circumvent the results of the recent referendum vote by proceeding with a “bigger and better Pre-K program.”

One has only to look at the consistently high ISTEP scores of the much smaller private grade schools in Bartholomew County to see that bigger is not necessarily better.

The voters have spoken. It is time for BCSC to do the right thing and acknowledge the referendum results by dismantling their Pre-K program at the end of the current school year.

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