Sunday’s AMOS meeting at New Prospect Baptist Church yielded important gains for the effort for universal preschool in our city.
Cincinnati’s childhood poverty rate was at an “abominable” 44.3% last year. As demonstrated in the documentary “Are We Crazy About Our Kids?”, preschool is crucial to breaking the cycle of poverty, offering early intercession in the lives of low-income children to improve their futures. The AMOS Project has been working with the Preschool Promise to bring universal pre-K to Cincinnati.
Sunday’s event brought together several key players from Cincinnati, including the Business Committee, United Way, and Cincinnati Public Schools, coming together to answer questions from AMOS. On stage were:
- John Pepper, former CEO of Proctor and Gamble
- Tom Williams, president of North American Properties and a leader of the Cincinnati Business Committee
- Michael Fisher, CEO of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Ozie Davis, executive director of the Avondale Comprehensive Development Corp.
- Ericka Copeland-Dansby, president of the Cincinnati Board of Education.
Stephanie Byrd, executive director of the United Way’s Success by 6 program
- Greg Landsman, former executive director of the Strive Partnership and a leader of the Preschool Promise group. (source: Business Courier)
Two key results came out of these conversations.
First, every leader onstage agreed to have The AMOS Project represent the community interests in all deliberations regarding fundraising, development, and policies related to universal preschool. The AMOS Project’s muscle and influence was clear.
Secondly, an agreement was reached on the process of generating revenue for preschool. While an earnings tax raise is supported by over 60% of the Cincinnati public, the idea is quite unpopular among the business community. On the other hand, a levy (property tax) may not pass on the ballot. An agreement was reached between AMOS and the business leaders to work together on a shared effort to raise revenue by multiple means. AMOS agreed to work together towards a comprehensive funding approach, with cooperation of the business leaders.
AMOS also clearly stated that if a comprehensive approach is not reached, then they will proceed solely with the earnings tax to fund preschool.
It is an exciting time for our city, for social justice work, and the potential of remedying systemic injustice with quality education and community partnership. Please continue to hold the AMOS Project in prayer, and, if you feel led, keep your eyes and ears open for other ways to get involved.
See you in church,