IPS backs Mayor Ballard’s pre-K program

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s plan to make pre-kindergarten available for needy families is gaining support across the city.

The $50 million proposal would need public and private investments to pave the way for quality school for low-income families.

Part of the plan calls for the city to get rid of the Homestead Tax Credit. Getting rid of the tax break will cost the city’s average homeowner about $1.84 per month. Initially, the elimination of that tax would cost the Indianapolis Public School District $600,000. However, Jason Kloth, Ballard’s deputy mayor of education, believes IPS and other districts will benefit financially once the $50 million investment is made.

According to Kloth, the total loss of the Homestead Tax for districts in Marion County will cost $3 million dollars; however, $10 million in new resources will generate a net benefit of $7 million dollars to pre-K programs across the city if the proposal is approved.

Despite the plan being in its early stages, IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee appears to be in favor of Ballard’s proposal.

“Violent crime is a serious concern in our city, and we all know there is not a simple solution to the problem. I am pleased to hear that Mayor Ballard is proposing a variety of plans to curb the culture of violence, including pre-kindergarten scholarships for families challenged by poverty,” he said on Thursday.

Amanda McDonald is a single mother raising a 4-year-old daughter. She pays $110 dollars a week to send her daughter to preschool. Under Ballard’s plan, only families that qualify for free or reduced lunch are eligible for the pre-K scholarships.

McDonald would not qualify, but she is still in favor for Ballard’s pre-K proposal.

“I think it should be mandatory,” said McDonald.

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