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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington’s Police Chief took time to weigh in on the state budget battle today.

Ralph Evangelous visited a day care this morning to read to young children and discuss the value of early childhood education. Evangelous says he supports the More at Four and Smart Start programs, which help at-risk children succeed.

He said the current state budget plan would make substantial changes to these programs and their investment in early childhood education.

“If we lose More at Four, then our most at-risk kids will not have a chance, and these unacceptable dropout rates will continue at the rate they are at, because they can never catch up in school,” Evangelous said. “This is what I’m talking about: we need to reach out to these three- and four-year-olds, and we need to have a positive influence on their life, give them quality education, so that when they get into elementary school they’re not behind already.”

Evangelous also said it is imperative to maintain current funding for these programs.

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