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Early childhood education advocates suffer election loss, say fi - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Early childhood education advocates suffer election loss, say fight far from over

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TUCSON - Tucson voters defeated Prop 204 last Tuesday, a ballot measure that would have made it easier for families across the city to get access to preschool and early education programs. 

Eric Schindler, the president and CEO of Child and Family Resources, a nonprofit in Tucson is a staunch believer in Pre-K for every Tucsonan. He was shocked by Prop 204 went down by a 2 to 1 margin. 

"When the veil gets parted, we have a fairly conservative and wealthy and powerful business elite that tends to drive the conversation," Schindler said. 

The Southern Arizona Leadership Council opposed Prop 204.

"We're very supportive of early childhood, we believe in it, we just don't believe this was the right way to do it," Ron Shoopman said.

Shoopman believes the ballot measure in front of voters was filled with vague language and the half cent sales tax didn't have a sunset and would have only affected kids in the city of Tucson.

"Had it been county wide, we would have had a much more effective process to affect all of the children in our region," Shoopman argued. 

"We have a big problem in our society and in our city when one out of five children goes to quality preschool," Schindler said. "That results in more than half of children entering kindergarten not ready, not prepared. It's not fair, we don't have a level playing field for all children."

Schindler strongly believes his group will be back and make another pitch to voters in the future. 

"Birth to five is the best time," he said, "it's the key time to make the investment in the well-being of our community." 

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