A community group is rallying diverse support for the expansion of Pre-K in Syracuse, with supporters saying it could improve the economy and diminish crime.
The Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse, also called ‘ACTS’, brought together business and law enforcement officials on Thursday to demand more state funding. Syracuse Chief of Police Frank Fowler notices a connection between Pre-K and better futures for young people.
“When you look at the fact that 42 % of our prison population do not have high school diplomas. And you look back at the fact the early childhood education works; It absolutely works; it’s a proven fact. It makes sense that we invest in our young people early on in this process to give young people a chance.”
According to ACTS, full-day Pre-K raises graduation rates by at least 10 % per year. Increasingly, jobs will require more education in New York State, according to Centerstate C-E-O President Rob Simpson. He estimates that by 2018, 62 % of the jobs will require some form of postsecondary education…and Pre-K is a stepping stone.
“You can’t get a post-secondary education without a primary education. It is a critical issue. In a city that is unable to graduate more than 50 % of its students from its schools, it does not have the kind of economic future that we want it to have, that our businesses need it to have, that our families deserve it to have.”
STATE BUDGET PRE-K PROPOSALS
- NYS Senate: $540 Million for Pre-k, most for New York City.
- Governor Cuomo Executive Budget: $100 Million for Pre-K expansion statewide.
Local leaders want $5 million earmarked for expanding Pre-K in the Syracuse City School District. ACTS estimates up to 400 children would be covered, making it available to all city youth before kindergarten.