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Report: Indiana One Of Ten States Without Preschool Program

A preschool program bill passed committee, but fizzled with an amendment that included a series of changes and no direct funding for a statewide program.

prek students

Photo: Elle Moxley/StateImpact Indiana

A teacher helps a student open her milk at Busy Bees Academy, a public preschool in Columbus.

Indiana is now one of ten states without a preschool program, according to a nationwide report that highlights Indiana’s lagging efforts.

The National Institute for Early Education Research’s “State of Preschool Yearbook 2012” shows this has not been a good year for early childhood education programs nationally with public resources for preschool program being cut in many states.

Lawmakers attempted to launch a state-funded preschool pilot program during this year‘s Indiana General Assembly session. The bill passed a committee, but fizzled with an amendment that included a series of changes and no direct funding for a statewide program.

Lawmaker opposed to the pilot program in Indiana say they did not approve pre-k funding this year because the state cannot afford it after fully funding kindergarten last year.

“The pilot wouldn’t be too expensive, but the objective there is that it probably would work out and they’d want to come back and fully fund that, which could be $150 million a year, which would be a lot of money,” Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn), who chairs the Senate Education Committee, told StateImpact Indiana.

But National Institute for Early Education Research Director Steve Barnett says this logic does not add up.

“It’s a matter of penny wise and pound foolish. We pay way more for failing to invest in the first five years of live than these programs would cost us,” he says.

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