Candidate Taveras proposes universal pre-kindergarten in RI - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

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Candidate Taveras proposes universal pre-kindergarten in RI

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis

mcurtis@abc6.com

Mayor Taveras spent the morning reading to preschoolers in Pawtucket. He did it to underscore his race for governor, and to promote his plans for statewide–pre kindergarten classes for all kids in Rhode Island.

"It pays long term dividends. I myself know the power of this because I am a Head Start graduate, and have experienced it for myself," said candidate Angel Taveras.

Taveras pointed to studies showing that pre–k students have a much better chance at graduating from college, and working full–time.

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, "To fund his Pre–K program Mayor Taveras would cut the budget here at the Rhode Island Training School – the juvenile jail – by as much as 10 percent."

But critics worry that cutting the training school budget might mean early release or lighter sentences for young offenders.

"They're there for a reason. They're there because they broke the law. And Rhode Island has to stop being so liberal, in letting all these lawbreakers continually go out on the street, because most of them offend again," said State Rep. Doreen Costa, (R) North Kingstown.

Mayor Taveras did not answer our question about potentially lighter juvenile penalties, but did say money would be better spent on his pre–kindergarten plan, instead of jailing juveniles.

"We're spending $98,000 dollars a child, $98.000 a child. That's what we're spending in terms of people we have at that Training School," Taveras said.

The mayor's plan would also cut state vehicle maintenance costs and employee overtime by 10 percent, all to pay for universal pre–k programs.

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