House GOP to Call for Money to Help Low-Income Kids Attend Preschool
Bosma: $7M pilot program is logical next step after full-day kindergarten
House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) (WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman)
House Republicans are calling for a first step toward state-funded preschool.
Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says the House budget will include $7 million dollars to help about a thousand toddlers from low-income families attend preschool. He says Republicans had hoped to cover more, until they learned the average cost of preschool in Indiana: $6,800 a year, with some schools costing more than $10,000.
Bosma estimates 81,000 Hoosier three-and-four-year-olds would meet the expected income guidelines for state help. He says starting small gives the state a chance to assess whether kindergarteners and first graders really do show benefits from attending preschool.
The program as drafted by Representatives Robert Behning (R-Indianapolis) and Suzanne Crouch (R-Evansville) would operate similarly to the private-school voucher law, with parents receiving a credit they could use for tuition at the preschool of their choice. The tuition scholarship would apply to both public and private preschools.
Legislators in both parties have focused on preschool now that full-day kindergarten has been funded. Governor Pence's budget continues kindergarten funding but makes no mention of preschool.