IBJNews

Preschool pilot program headed to Pence's desk

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Lawmakers gave Gov. Mike Pence just a sliver of the expansive pre-kindergarten program he’d been seeking but assigned him significant responsibility in getting the state-funded classes going.

On the last day of the 2014 legislative session, the Republican-controlled House and Senate approved a compromise bill that creates a five-county pilot preschool program.

The bill authorizes Pence to spend up to $10 million to launch classes as early as this fall. But he must find savings within the Family and Social Service Administration to pay for it. And FSSA and the participating preschool programs must use grants or private donations to fund at least 10 percent of preschool costs.

The bill’s author, Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis, said the plan encourages only high-quality programs with academic rigor and that parents must participate.

“We’ll make sure that any parent that enrolls their child understands this is not just a day care program but this is an early-childhood education program,” Behning said. “We do have an attendance (requirement) so we make certain they attend on a regular basis.”

The House approved the bill 92-8 and the Senate passed it 40-8. It includes a study that will follow participating students through the third grade and explore additional ways to pay for a statewide program.

Pence had originally sought state-funded pre-kindergarten for all low-income children in Indiana. But lawmakers were concerned about the cost – and some GOP senators questioned whether preschool is effective.

In the last few weeks, the governor has been traveling the state visiting pre-K programs to try to win support for his plan. On Thursday, Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, said the compromise measure “puts the burden on Pence” to show that preschool works.

“I think the governor’s rather ambitious initial request seemed to be pretty overarching in terms of the people it covered,” Kenley said. The compromise legislation better hones the program so it serves only the poorest children and creates a study to determine whether the program helps the students achieve, he said.

To qualify, a student’s family could earn no more than 127 percent of the federal poverty limit. That’s about $28,380 for a family of four.

Democratic Sen. Earline Rogers of Gary, a former teacher and principal, called the pilot program “a step” toward statewide preschool. And she said it at least takes Indiana off the list of schools that don’t provide any state funding for preschool.

“We can now join Mississippi in a pre-K program,” she said.

Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, also said it will be a first step – but one that will lead to a larger program that’s too expensive.

“It’s the camel’s nose under the tent,” Schneider said. “This is a dangerous precedent.”

But Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, said the bill is limited and the pilot will expire unless the General Assembly votes to keep it in place.

“We’ll take a look at this longitudinal study, and if the program doesn’t work,” the legislature can end it, he said. “I don’t think the camel is going to get to far if the program doesn’t work.”

House Republicans had originally pushed to allow preschool participants to move directly into the state’s’ K-12 voucher program, without requiring them to try public schools first. But the final legislation doesn’t include that language.

The bill allows the pre-K program to launch as soon as this fall. But Claire Fiddian-Green, the governor’s special assistant for education innovation, said it’s likely the program would launch in 2015.

She said Pence is “grateful there is a well-thought-through pilot in place that could get up and running as soon as possible.”

The FSSA will be responsible for choosing the five counties for the pilot program.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

  2. I did;nt know anyone in Indiana could count- WHY did they NOT SAY just HOW this would be enforced? Because it WON;T! NOW- with that said- BIG BROTHER is ALIVE in this Article-why take any comment if it won't appease YOU PEOPLE- that's NOT American- with EVERYTHING you indicated is NOT said-I can see WHY it say's o Comments- YOU are COMMIES- BIG BROTHER and most likely- voted for Obama!

  3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

  4. Exciting times in Carmel.

  5. Twenty years ago when we moved to Indy I was a stay at home mom and knew not very many people.WIBC was my family and friends for the most part. It was informative, civil, and humerous with Dave the KING. Terri, Jeff, Stever, Big Joe, Matt, Pat and Crumie. I loved them all, and they seemed to love each other. I didn't mind Greg Garrison, but I was not a Rush fan. NOW I can't stand Chicks and all their giggly opinions. Tony Katz is to abrasive that early in the morning(or really any time). I will tune in on Saturday morning for the usual fun and priceless information from Pat and Crumie, mornings it will be 90.1

ADVERTISEMENT