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Preschool, for a price

July 11, 2016
Economics and Finance
Kevin Trevellyan
Post Register

Programs such as Disney’s are offered throughout the Gem State. But placing your child in one can be expensive. 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. Idaho has the highest rate of preschool-age children absent from the classroom: 69 percent, according to the 2016 Kids Count Data BookAnd only 59 percent of Idaho’s K-3 children — 52 percent of kindergartners — hit the Idaho Reading Indicator benchmark in the fall of 2015. Many early education advocates believe that number could be improved if more children were enrolled in preschool.

At Kids Korner tuition runs $115 per week, which can be a burden for many families already struggling to make ends meet, especially if they’re enrolling more than one child. And for some preschools, tuition doesn’t even provide enough funds to hire qualified teachers. “I think Idaho is behind almost all the other states by at least three to four years in early childhood education,” Disney said. “To work at a preschool you don’t even have to technically be a teacher.”