Mayor Levar Stoney Campaigning on Universal Pre-K for Richmond


In his latest campaign appearance, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced a plan to provide universal pre-K throughout the city for three and four-year-olds. On Thursday, Stoney was joined by Virginia’s First Lady Pam Northam and former Secretary of Education Anne Holton, who endorsed the mayor for re-election.

“Every child deserves the best Richmond has to offer, and so we need universal pre-K now. I’m honored to stand with two public education champions today in the fight for expanded early education, and I’m humbled by both of their endorsements,” Stoney said.

According to a press release, Northam said, “Providing access to quality pre-K for Richmond children will provide them a launchpad to success. Astonishingly, over 70% of Virginia three-year-olds and nearly 25% of four-year-olds from economically disadvantaged families do not have access to quality early learning programs. We are so lucky to have a strong partner in this fight with Mayor Stoney and I look forward to voting for him this fall.”

Stoney campaigned for his first term with an emphasis on improving education achievement levels. In a forum on Monday night, he cited $30 million of new money provided to Richmond Public Schools (RPS) under his administration. In 2019, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that graduation rates for Richmond high schools continued to fall. Other candidates for mayor have questioned Stoney’s effectiveness on education.

However, Holton said Stoney’s dollars were effective. “In 2016, Levar ran on a strong education platform promising to invest more dollars into RPS, build new schools, and expand after-school programs to all elementary and middle schoolers. Levar has delivered on his promises and I know he will continue to deliver for Richmond’s kids.”

“I strongly believe the biggest challenge holding our city back is our public school system and I know Levar is the mayor to continue the work of fixing our schools,” Holton said.

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network.  Email tips to [email protected]

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