The cornerstone to a healthy economy is stable families…
Many families have a choice about where they live. Too many families who work in the City of Poughkeepsie are choosing to buy homes in Kingston, Beacon, LaGrange, or Rhinebeck. Why? When asked, the number one reason is the poor performance of the City’s public-school system. Homeowners pay two-thirds of the City’s budget. Right now, the City is not returning enough value to our families. If we cannot attract families to buy homes here, the housing equity freezes and our tax base destabilizes. Developers have already transitioned to building primarily market rate rental units, raising the cost of living and ultimately displacing working families.
Only one in three City of Poughkeepsie African American students graduate from high school; and with less than half of our Latino students completing school—the City’s youth unemployment rate skyrockets to 40%. We need to support our families with school aged children, and we must build the capacity of the community to bridge the achievement gap faced by our students.
But we must also recognize the importance of Pre-K and early intervention. I will prioritize the introduction of affordable 24-hour childcare in the City of Poughkeepsie. Having this 24-hour childcare will allow parents and caregivers who work early or late shifts to access childcare before the school day or into the late hours of the evening. This is particularly important for our many healthcare professionals who end or start their workday at times when daycare pick up and drop off is currently not available.
Encouragingly, a new organization called “Day One” has just launched in Poughkeepsie to find better ways to deliver high quality early childhood education. The research is clear: there is no better investment the City can make than an investment in early childhood education. I’m committed to partnering with Day One to realize their goal of making the City of Poughkeepsie the Early Childhood Education Capital of the United States.
Together with 24-hour childcare and early childhood education, my plan will facilitate modernized public schools rebuilt from the inside out with a capital investment plan mixing State, Federal, County, and private funding. Further, my work-study and apprenticeship programs will support our college and career bound students with competitive exposure to high paying career opportunities.
My plan for Poughkeepsie includes significantly increasing tuition-free college opportunities in partnership with the 6 local colleges and universities in the area. Because today’s average student loan debt represents 94% of Poughkeepsie’s household income, I will focus on enhancing opportunities for debt-free college as a way to keep more money in the pockets of our families as they move to build their careers and compete in our billion-dollar local economy.
Focusing on Culture and the Arts, my Administration will support more affordable, family friendly recreational options to strengthen the quality of life we offer here in Poughkeepsie. Finally, my plan actively transitions families that are renting toward home ownership opportunities to further build financial stability in our community.
The family is the cornerstone of every economy. My plan centralizes the needs of families and forges a reliable path to the Middle Class for all residents.