Debate to Continue on Pre-K Funding

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A bill to provide additional funding for the pilot program has cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee. A bill to provide additional funding for the pilot program has cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The Indiana Senate is scheduled to consider amendments to pre-k funding legislation Monday ahead of an expected final vote Tuesday. The debate comes as the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy at Indiana University released a study recommending Indiana spend more money and consider new funding mechanisms to expand its pilot pre-k program.

A bill to provide additional funding for the pilot program has cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee, but an amendment by Chair Luke Kenley (R-20) considerably reduced the amount of money set aside. Governor Eric Holcomb has called for the state to double its current $10 million investment this session, but SB 276 now calls for a $4 million increase.

The report from IU, prepared for the Indiana State Board of Education, compared data on 10 states that have implemented then expanded pilot pre-k programs. Lead author Colleen Chesnut says, based on the report's findings, the researchers are recommending increased funding "and that funding options in addition to the general revenue fund be considered."

In addition to the funding, the authors also recommend "continued attention to the quality of these programs." CEEP Director of Education Policy Anne-Maree Ruddy says the top state-funded programs included in the study featured lower staff-to-student ratios, highly-qualified teachers and research-based curricula, assessments and evaluation measures.

You can see the full report by clicking here.

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