RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - South Dakota is one of four states that does not invest state funds into preschool education.
On Saturday Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender shared why beginnings matter when it comes to learning.
Mayor Allender showed a select audience a documentary called "No Small Matter" on Saturday at the Journey Museum.
It's a film about the progress of preschool education in America.
Lawmakers who do not wish to spend money on early childhood education are worried about the cost to taxpayers when we already invest state dollars in kindergarten through 12th grade, but Mayor Allender says preschool will help us save millions of dollars in the long run.
Steve Allender says, "Those kids have a higher earning potential. They have a low chance of addiction, low chance of being in the poverty environment, lesser chance of criminal activity. I mean it is an overall benefit for these children as they grow into adults."
Mayor Allender says our children are the future.
To help our kids from starting at the back of the pack, he says we should help build a coalition of early childhood educators and support a city-wide effort to provide for preschool children.
Steve Allender says, "This is one of our number one priorities for 2019 and beyond. It's a root cause issue. I believe the people that put me in this office and other people like me would want us to go to the root cause rather than treating the symptoms, hoping for a miracle."
One concerned citizen tells us he sent all three of his children to preschool and says it's made all the difference.
Malcom Chapman, concerned citizen, says, "I also think that it's all of our responsibility, not just the school districts, to play a part in this. I applaud Mayor Allender for rallying folks who care about education, who care about our young folks in our community and to give them a leg up early on."