Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

What’s Going On In The Legislature With Pre-K Expansion?

    The State Board of Education voted Nov. 16, 2016 to express support for legislation that would expand preschool in that specific manner, following a blueprint set by state’s current preschool pilot program. (Barnaby Wasson/Flickr)

    Expanding state-funded pre-K is one issue that will take center stage in 2017.(Barnaby Wasson/Flickr)” credit=”

    We’re a few weeks into the 2017 legislative session, and there isn’t much progress on one issue that legislators promised would be discussed: state-funded preschool.

    State legislators on both sides of the aisles support the idea of expanding the state’s current pre-K program, which gives scholarships to around 1,700 kids in five counties. But the question this session will be how much more money the General Assembly decides to give the program.

    At last night’s State of the State address, Gov. Eric Holcomb echoed his support for expanding the program.

    “Our most vulnerable children deserve a fair start too, so I’ve called for us to double the state’s investment in pre-kindergarten to $20 million annually,” Holcomb says.

    There is one bill filed right now that addresses expanding the state-funded preschool program.

    House Bill 1004 is authored by Rep. Bob Behning, Chair of the House Education Committee, and co-authored by representatives from both parties. This bill increased the counties eligible to receive the scholarships from five to 10, adjusts the amount of money in a scholarship, and would increase the providers that accept students with a scholarship.

    The bill hasn’t been heard yet by a House committee or the full House.

    As we’ve reported before, the discussion among legislators likely won’t be on whether the program should expand, but how much money they are willing to allocate to the expansion.



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