When Jeffersonville’s Promise was announced in November, many praised the program as a way to give hope to the hopeless. The program promised two free years of tuition at Ivy Tech for qualifying Jeff High graduates, starting with this year’s senior class. When you consider that more than half of the students at Jeff High receive free or reduced price lunches, the impact of Jeffersonville’s Promise is monumental for those who could not afford college otherwise.
However, a bill recently introduced in the state House of Representatives puts the future of Jeffersonville’s Promise in doubt. House Bill 1596, which is primarily sponsored by Ed Clere, R-New Albany, would stop or curtail the program. After a quick decision to move forward with the bill in a committee, this week the bill was moved to a different committee, according to a report in the News and Tribune.
For now, the program still stands while Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore continues to advocate for the program.
We, the Hyphen staff, believe the bill sheds light on the need to define more rigorous standards for how the scholarship money is used. However, we believe that Jeffersonville’s Promise should stand, because it is a wise use of tax dollars. Just as we use tax dollars to provide libraries and public schools for citizens, we should use tax dollars to provide college education.
Some would say that Clere is using this measure to continue the ongoing feud between Jeffersonville and New Albany high schools. The issues are deeper than that. But there is one thing we can all agree on: a more educated population in Jeffersonville benefits our entire area — including New Albany.