First Law Funding Pre-K In Ind.
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana will soon have state funding for pre-kindergarten, at least in select counties.
Governor Mike Pence signed House Enrolled Act 1004 into law Thursday. The legislation creates a pre-K voucher pilot program in five counties that the governor says will help 1,500 children from low income families.
“When it comes to helping our Hoosier kids reach their full potential, early education can make the difference between a lifetime of success and a lifetime of trying to catch up,” said Pence during the bill signing at a church daycare center in Indianapolis. “Today is an historic moment in our state as we begin a new chapter of Indiana education to help young Hoosiers succeed in school, in the workforce, and in life.”
The vouchers administered by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration can be used at the public or private preschool of the parents’ choosing. The vouchers could total up to $10 million, with each eligible child receiving between $2,500 and $6,800 each year.
Before the law was signed, Indiana was the only Midwestern state and one of nine states in the nation not providing state funding for pre-kindergarten.
The issue had been one of Pence’s legislative priorities for 2014. HEA 1004 nearly died in the Indiana Senate where senators were hesitant to approve new funding during a non-budget making session, but Pence personally testified before a committee to keep the bill alive.
HEA 1004 was co-authored by a number of lawmakers including State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) and Rep. Cindy Ziemke (R-Batesville).