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State-Funded Pre-K Bill Could Bring It State-Wide

Only 20 counties have state-funded pre-k now. That could change if a new bill passes.

STATE WIDE--Your child could soon have access to pre-k, if needed. The Indiana House Education Committee voted to support a bill that could support pre-k programs for four-year-olds across the state. 

Right now, only 20 counties have programs that are getting their money from the state. That's part of a pilot program that has been expanding since 2014.

The bill (HB 1628) can now be considered by the full House.

According to state Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis), students who do not attend pre-K, especially those from low-income families, often enter school up to 18 months developmentally behind other students. 

“Without some form of early education, many students enter kindergarten unprepared,” said Behning. “Not only do effective pre-K programs establish a solid academic foundation, students learn critical skills like following directions and working with others. Providing opportunities for more families to take advantage of excellent pre-K programs within their communities would drive student success throughout their K-12 career and beyond.”

Behning said On My Way Pre-K currently serves less than 3,000 Hoosier 4-year-olds. According to Early Learning Indiana, more than 27,000 low-income children do not have access to a high-quality pre-K program. 

“Pre-K is an investment in our next generation,” he said. “It is estimated that for each $1 spent on pre-K, the state could save up to $4 in future education expenses.” 

PHOTO: Chris Davis/Emmis

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