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In Idaho, preschool comes with a price

July 14, 2016
Economics and FinanceGovernance and AccountabilityOutcomesState & Local
Kevin Trevellyan
Idaho Statesman

Idaho is among five states nationally that don’t fund preschool despite the proven benefits it can offer. Though the Legislature did boost education funding by $107 million last session, preschool was ignored. There have been many legislative efforts as recent as 2015 to introduce public preschool to Idaho, but none have grown past ideas. Last year’s bill didn’t receive a hearing. And the 2017 legislative agenda doesn’t include a state-funded preschool-related bill, said Idaho State Board of Education Spokesman Blake Youde.

Supporters consistently run into two legislative objections:

1. Idaho doesn’t have enough money for its own public education system and needs to put dollars there, some legislators say.

2. Preschool education is a role for Idaho families, say other lawmakers.