KC mayor says proposed sales tax for pre-k education will go on April ballot

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Mayor Sly James announced Friday that he is postponing asking residents to vote on his controversial pre-k tax proposal until April.

Mayor James wants a tax increase to send all four- and five-year-olds to pre-k, but school districts have concerns and wanted to hold off on putting the plan in front of voters because this decision impacts 15 school districts in the area.

His proposal includes a 3/8 cent city-wide sales tax to fund pre-k programs. He anticipates the tax hike will generate $30 million per year.

School districts across the metro are in favor of the programs, but not in this manner.  Some said they are concerned this proposal would become a voucher system, while others are concerned the districts would lose control of the money.

Kansas City Public Schools released a statement Wednesday and called for the proposal to not be on the ballot on Nov. 6. They argued that the proposal “fails to provide adequate amounts of authority to the public school system.” KCPS also said they have concerns with taxing people in the district who can’t afford additional costs.

Mayor James said only 35 percent of Kansas City four-year-olds have access to quality pre-k programs.