$50 million preschool push a centerpiece of Ballard’s plan to cut crime
Mayor Greg Ballard today announced major new education initiatives aimed in part at combating an upswing in violence in Indianapolis, most notably a $50 million, five-year public-private effort to expand preschool for poor children.
The city will contribute half that amount — $25 million in tax dollars — to efforts both to pay tuition for children who cannot afford to attend highly-rated preschools and to help more preschools reach a high quality rating.
The new push from the city aims to transform the city’s lagging preschool offerings — less than one in six of 800 licensed centers meet the state’s highest quality standards — and put 1,300 more children in formal learning programs before kindergarten.
Separately, Ballard’s office will support a study of factors that push kids out of school:expulsion, suspension and dropouts. Experts say serious trouble in school is often a warning sign that children could face legal trouble and other problems later in life.