KC mayor continues campaign to establish citywide Pre-K program

Bill Grady
March 26, 2019 - 6:35 am

Kansas City Mayor Sly James says his passionate advocacy for early childhood education has nothing to do with a concern for his legacy.

The mayor is making a final push for voters to approve a 3/8th cent sales tax to fund a program that would expand pre-kindergarten classes in the city. The tax would run ten years and generate an estimated $30 million per year. James maintained his energy on the issue at a town hall meeting in the Northland, even though only five people showed up.

James believes the lack of a citywide early education program creates an incentive for young parents to leave.

"You don't have to look very far," James said. "When there's a migration of people who are starting to have kids out of the city into the suburbs, why do they leave? They're leaving because they don't like the education system where they're living in the city."

The mayor's proposal is facing tough opposition from school districts within Kansas City. Councilmember Jolie Justus is the only mayoral candidate who supports the proposal.

Kansas City citizens will vote on the issue April 2.

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