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School board to ask for pre-kindergarten funding again

Bartholomew Consolidated schools will try again to convince voters to pay for pre-kindergarten classes for the community's poorest students.

The school board decided last night to approve the language of a referendum that would appear on the fall ballot. A similar referendum was turned down by voters in 2012.

State law at the time did not allow any description of the plan for the money. BCSC Superintendent John Quick said a change in state law will allow the district to have some space on the ballot to explain the proposal.

"That was an issue with us in 2012 when we tried it...the law didn't allow you to describe what your question was. Our local legislators helped us get that law changed and you are able to add a description. Which we think is just a fair thing, to tell people why you are voting on this issue." 

The proposed tax increase would add about $16 to the property tax bill of the owner of a $100,000 home with standard deductions, school officials estimated. It would provide an estimated $1.8 million for the pre-kindergarten education in the school district.

Quick said the funds would provide pre-kindergarten for the district's poorest students -- those who qualify for the free and reduced price lunch program.

"It does raise taxes but the reason is that we want to be able to get those students who can't afford pre-kindergarten in the door," Quick said.

School board member Polly Verbonic said many community members do not realize how poor those students actually are or how different their lives are than those who had more normal upbringings. She said she has worked with some of those children during her time with the Book Buddies program and at the Busy Bees Academy and was amazed to find out how chaotic their lives are.

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 7:57:15 AM

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