Thursday, October 02, 2014

Day Nursery Gets $20 Million Of $22.5 Million Grant Money From Lilly Endowment For Pre-K Education

I've been telling you all along that this entire early childhood education initiative pushed by Gov. Mike Pence and Mayor Greg Ballard with the strong backing of Eli Lilly was all about steering money to particular providers of early childhood education. As it turns out, there is only one entity that Lilly is interested in supporting. That would be the Day Nursery as it has always been known as until it recently started calling itself Early Learning Indiana. "Early Learning Indiana — formerly Day Nursery Association — will get $20 million to increase the number of programs it offers statewide and improve their quality, according to a news release from Lilly," the Star's John Tuohy reports. An additional $2.5 million grant is being awarded to United Way of Central Indiana, the nonprofit Mayor Ballard intends to rely upon to dole out the $5 million a year he wants to pass out to providers of early childhood education in Marion County for children of low-income parents. United Way will likely use most of that money for administrative costs associated with the program.

As only Advance Indiana reported, the wife of Star political columnist Matt Tully, Valerie Tully, chairs Day Nursery Association of Indiana, a fact he failed to disclose when he used his political column to endlessly advocate for Ballard's plan to eliminate the homestead property tax credit to provide $5 million a year in funding for pre-K education. Mayor Ballard's deputy mayor of education, Jason Kloth, also serves on Day Nursery's Board of Directors with Tully's wife. Tully also neglected to mention that his wife is employed as an executive at Eli Lilly, the same company that has made such a large public commitment to funding pre-K education. Tully insisted that there was no problem in not disclosing his wife's service chairing the Day Nursery's board of directors because she served in a volunteer capacity for the organization. "We have absolutely no financial interest in Day Nursery," he wrote in an e-mail to Advance Indiana. "The volunteering is a huge time commitment for her, but she does it gladly." He also defended his decision not to mention the fact that his wife worked for Eli Lilly because he ran it past his bosses at the Star who were comfortable with him writing about the subject despite Lilly's role in advocating for the program.

Now you know the rest of the story. The Star's Matt Tully and editorial manager, Tim Swarens, have been highly critical of any public official who dares to oppose city funding for Mayor Ballard's proposed pre-K spending program despite the fact that the City lacks resources as it is to fund basic services. The two have made quite clear that the news and editorial pages of the Indianapolis Star will be used to brandish anyone who stands in the way of approving Ballard's plan to provide $5 million a year in city tax dollars to the pre-K initiative, ignoring the fact that education is not the constitutional or statutory responsibility of municipal government in Indiana. Their funding plan would actually cut funding for Marion County's public schools by about $5 million a year by eliminating the homestead credit. Currently, Head Start in Indianapolis is provided exclusively by Family Development Services, which operates nine pre-K learning centers throughout the county. It spends about $16 million a year providing services to about 2,500 low-income children, all of which is funded by the federal government. FDS has attained state and national accreditation for its learning centers. Apparently, the Pence/Ballard/Lilly plan is to start up a competing program using the Day Nursery as an exclusive provider to compete against current Head Start programs.

UPDATE: So more details about the $20 million grant indicate that none of the $20 million being doled out to Day Nursery will actually be used to provide scholarships to low-income children to attend pre-K; rather, Day Nursery will supposedly be using this windfall of money to help other pre-K providers improve their curricula, build classrooms, educate parents and support professional development for teachers.


Anonymous said...

The "rest of the story" reveals all involved to be of low personal and moral character and not worthy of credibility now or ever again. How both Tullys and Swarens can remain employed is just beyond. Ballard is headed for retirement although he probably should be in a pleated orange jumpsuit.

I do not know how the ex-Marine lives with himself with all the deception he's pulled off against the Marion County taxpayers through his deplorable reign.

LamLawIndy said...

I have no problem with Mrs. Tully heading the Day Nursery board, but I do think that Matt Tully should henceforth recuse himself from writing/covering the issue as an ethical matter. It's not that Matt would skew the story that worries me but the appearance of possible bias that would alarm me.

Flogger said...

Just one more example of Crony-Capitalism. It sounds like the $20M will be spread out to certain selected "Providers" by Day Nursery. The interest IMHO is not about the children, but in doling out money to the "Selected Providers."

If Pence and Mayor Blowhole were really committed to the children, the proper avenue would be use the existing Public School System, as the delivery system, and fund the Program via the State.

However, using the Public School System, would cut out Crony-Capitalism and the parasites that feed off of it. I feel fairly confident certain Members of the Religious Establishment will be all on board with their hands out to have funds diverted into their own pockets.

I visualize the Shadow Government has a Crony-Capitalism Passport. Those that abide by the various schemes the Shadow Government proposes, receive an entry stamp. This entry stamp gives you a Seal of Approval. It would be important for Pence to have this Seal of Approval, other Shadow Governments at a State or Federal Level, would know he is in Good Standing.

Anonymous said...

Important point of distinction The Indianapolis Star may have missed: Eli Lilly and Company's support of Greg Ballard's preschool deal has nothing to do with Lilly Endowment's support of Day Nursery. They are totally different entities - different boards, different pools of money.

Guest said...

Tucked in the article in the paper was the statement "We are trying to convert what was essentially baby-sitting to high quality education" That was the most telling statement of them all. All that money was babysitting but this time with more money it will different. Fight this with the city council-I wish Carl Moldthan was here.