Local school corporations are in competition for students, almost daily. Gone are the days of boundaries, and being forced to go to a certain school based on where you live.

Kids, and parents, now have a choice.

It’s probably rare, however, for students living in Floyd County to attend school in Jeffersonville, or vice versa. It’s hard to imagine having school-aged children living in the heart of New Albany and driving to Jeffersonville every day for school. That would be time-consuming and add stress to the morning routine.

But if there was a special incentive, that choice might not be as difficult to make. How about two years of free education at Ivy Tech following high school graduation? That could be a deciding factor for some families.

Last week, Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore announced “Jeffersonville’s Promise.” Basically, if a Jeffersonville High School student graduates, and qualifies for admittance to Ivy Tech, that student can attend tuition free. The city of Jeff will use interest from a $750,000 investment from the redevelopment commission to pay the tuition.  

“Jeffersonville’s Promise” is a game-changer in so many ways.

First of all it guarantees a kid at minimum a short-term credential, which would prepare them to join the workforce, or an associate’s degree from Ivy Tech. They can also collect 60 hours of college credit hours and transfer to a four-year college or university. Students can earn a bachelor’s degree, but only pay two years of tuition, saving them, or their parents, thousands of dollars.

For many kids, this may be the only way they are able to attend college. For parents stressing over how they can afford to send their kid to college, that stress can now be eliminated. 

It also gives the Greater Clark County School Corp. a boost in being an attractive alternative to other local corporations. It’s unlikely the majority of people are going to yank their kids out of New Albany and Clarksville and enroll them in Jeffersonville schools. But for those who are on the fence, comparing the benefits of the local corporations, this could be the deciding factor.

Lastly, this will give Ivy Tech’s enrollment a boost for years to come. Enrollment at the Sellersburg campus has leveled out in recent years and this will be the shot in the arm the college needs.

It’s easy to criticize elected officials and those involved in government. And sometimes, they deserve it. Mike Moore has been involved in politics a long time and, yes, has been criticized a time or two. It comes with the territory.

But Jeffersonville’s Promise is such a great idea and has nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats. It’s what elected officials and governments are suppose to do — improve the lives of their citizens. And this definitely improves the lives of future generations.

It’s a great way for government to invest in the future of its city or county by educating future generations. While some municipalities may not be able to afford this type of commitment, Moore has definitely raised the bar with this initiative.

We don’t know if other municipalities will follow suit — but they should.

— The News and Tribune editorial board is comprised of Publisher Bill Hanson, Editor Susan Duncan, Assistant Editor Chris Morris, Assistant Editor Jason Thomas and Digital Editor Elizabeth DePompei.

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