LD 1530: An Act to Establish a Process for the Implementation of Universal Voluntary Prekindergarten Education will provide 4-year-olds across Maine with the opportunity to attend public prekindergarten programs. Currently 40 percent of school districts in our state do not offer pre-K.

The direct benefits for children who participate in high-quality early education programs are clear. What may be less clear are the benefits to the state of Maine as a whole.

Some people who question whether or not to support this bill may be concerned about the costs associated with developing a statewide prekindergarten program; however, investing now will save the state money in the future.

Studies of high-quality childhood education programs show that the economic return rate for these programs averages around 16 percent per year – a return rate ranging from $3 to $9 per dollar invested.

A cost-benefit analysis of an early-childhood education system that would serve children from infancy to 4 years old shows that the government could save over $125,400 per person in a lifetime. Public spending on MaineCare, Supplemental Security Income, and other public assistance programs would drop by $23,860 per person. Because participants will perform better in school, and be more likely to obtain higher paying jobs, each person will pay approximately $71,300 more in taxes to the local, state, and federal government.

LD 1530 will help the state of Maine succeed financially and economically. I urge readers to contact their representatives and ask them to support this bill.

Kasey Belcher