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Preschool Deal Will Double Number of Students, Expand Program to 15 New Counties

Plan also includes money for at-home preschool software

Legislators have given final approval to an expansion of Indiana's state-funded preschool program.

The bill doubles the number of students covered, as Governor Holcomb requested, and quadruples the number of counties in the program, from five to 20.  The Family and Social Services Administration will decide which ones, but must give preference to rural counties.

There's also money for an online preschool program to reach more rural families. Evansville Representative Holli Sullivan applauds the commitment to trying to reach areas which may not have preschool opportunities. She notes Indiana is still conducting a promised study of whether preschool delivers the anticipated benefits, and says that study will produce better results with students from a wider variety of backgrounds.

House Education Chairman Bob Behning says the income guidelines for the program are unchanged, but if all the eligible families in the original five counties have been approved, those counties can open up the program to families earning slightly more.

The vote sends the bill to Holcomb for his signature.

(Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)

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