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Senate Democrats Plan To Pursue Universal Pre-K In 2014

Pre-k students have a snack time at Busy Bees Academy in Columbus, Ind.

Indiana Senate Democrats are proposing the creation of pre-kindergarten programs in every public school.

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane says Indiana is stalled and that backing pre-kindergarten programs for every Hoosier child is a way to move forward.

Lanane says high quality pre-K produces students who are more likely to graduate high school, earn a higher income and own a home and less likely to require remediation or commit crimes.

“We think this is a investment that will pay for itself over time — and more than pay for itself,” Lanane says. “There are benefits that flow back.”

Lanane unveiled his proposal four months ahead of the start of the 2014 legislative session.

“The short session we’re heading into is an ideal time to really start the conversation and to really formulate the policy and make the commitment,” Lanane says. “And maybe we have to wait until 2015 to obviously commit the dollars to back this up.”

Lanane says he thinks statewide pre-K could cost around $197 million, based on the cost of the state’s full-day kindergarten program.

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