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Senate Will Hear Debate Over State Funded Pre-K Wednesday

A hearing over state funded preschool is scheduled for Wednesday after Governor Pence made it one of his legislative priorities.

An aide helps a student count at Busy Bees Academy, a public preschool in Columbus.

Photo: Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

An aide helps a student count at Busy Bees Academy, a public preschool in Columbus.

A bid to expand state financial aid for preschool gets a hearing in the Senate on Wednesday, with better prospects than it found a year ago.

Last year, the Senate sharply scaled back a House proposal for preschool vouchers for low-income students. But this year, Governor Pence made it one of his legislative priorities and says the lack of state aid for preschool is allowing Indiana to fall behind.

“Indiana is only one of nine states that doesn’t make investment in high quality, pre-k education,” Pence said. “I think for the sake of our kids and for the sake of education in Indiana, and for the sake of our future, it is an idea whose time has come.”

Legislators in both parties agree the real challenge will be to figure out how to fund the program. The preschool grants wouldn’t begin until 2015, allowing legislators to incorporate it into next year‘s budget talks, but fiscal leaders have said they want to avoid over committing resources down the road.

Claire McInerny

Claire McInerny is an education reporter for StateImpact Indiana. She comes to WFIU/WTIU from KCUR in Kansas City. She graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Kansas where she discovered her passion for public media and the stories it tells. You can follow her on Twitter @ClaireMcInerny.

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