Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Pre-K Proposals Would Help Some Indiana Families Pay For Early Childhood Education

Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

A student prepares for nap time at Busy Bees Academy, a public preschool in Columbus, Ind.

Indiana lawmakers will consider a proposal to fund preschool for some low-income families, reports Indiana Public Broadcasting‘s Brandon Smith:

Proposed legislation would set aside $7 million over each of the next two years for about 1,000 3- and 4-year-olds to attend a preschool program. To be eligible, family income would have to be 185 percent of the federal poverty level or less.

Speaker Brian Bosma says there are an estimated 81,000 Hoosier children who fit that description, but funding all of them would be too costly this soon.

“Prudence dictates that we put our toe in the water and study it and be sure that it’s an effective program, that it, in fact, does meet the goal of preparing otherwise unprepared children for kindergarten and first grade,” says Bosma.

He wants to make sure state money goes to high quality preschool programs, not daycare.

According to the Associated Press, each of the 1,000 children would be eligible for up to $6,800 in funding to attend a preschool program of the parents’ choice under the House plan. More students would be eligible under the Republicans’ proposal than currently qualify for federal Head Start dollars.

There’s also a Senate plan for a preschool pilot. Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, has introduced legislation for a 1,000 student pre-kindergarten program administered by the Department of Education.

The cost of that proposal is roughly $4.5 million, which is in line with estimates that a public pre-kindergarten program would cost Indiana roughly $4,130 per pupil.

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