Sanford: Hats off to city leaders for pre-K funding plan

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Whether you`re a Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, city resident or suburbanite all of us should agree that the great equalizer is education. Furthermore, the earlier the formal education starts the better.

That`s why we should applaud the effort by Memphis leaders to come up with funding to further expand pre-K classes in our community.

Mayor Jim Strickland unveiled the plan over the weekend. It would provide some $6 million in continuing public funds for pre-K slots once a federal grant runs out next year. A portion of the money would come from the equivalent of a penny from the current city property tax rate. The rest would come from taxes paid by companies that now receive tax breaks through the PILOT program after those PILOTS expire.

What`s more, the current property tax rate will not increase.

The plan must be approved with three votes by the City Council which will be taken up on Tuesday and it stands a great chance of passing.

City leaders have long been supportive of expanding pre-K. They understand that if Memphis is to make any headway giving our children a better chance for a life away from poverty and crime it has to start early.

Pre-K has shown to be an effective investment.

So hats off to city leaders for being creative in an area that`s needed most.

Commentary provided by Otis Sanford

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