As a longtime advocate for quality early learning as the first step toward a lifetime of achievement, I was very happy to read that almost twice as many Saco kids will have the opportunity to participate in the Saco School Department’s Pre-K program (“School Department eyes First Parish for Pre-K,” Aug. 3). Our educators deserve special credit for their efforts to expand participation despite challenges with the lease.

In the meantime, I hope educators throughout our state continue efforts to enable all kids to have the opportunity to attend quality preschool programs that build on the crucial skills developed by parents in their homes. In doing so, they can count on support from hundreds of Maine police chiefs, sheriffs and prosecutors.

As members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, we know from research and our own experiences that academic achievement and avoidance of the criminal justice system go hand in hand, and that the skills and knowledge developed in early learning programs endure for years to come.

William L. King, Jr.

York County Sheriff