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Support Exists for Expanding Public Pre-K; But Scope, Funding Questions Remain


June 16, 2016
AccessOutcomesUniversal and Targeted
Dustin Grove
wlfi.com

Preparing Indiana’s youngest for that first day of kindergarten is something Lafayette Community Schools Superintendent Les Huddle says shouldn’t wait.

“Having that access or opportunity for every student would be a huge step forward for our entire state,” said Huddle.

Indiana Superintendent for Public Instruction Glenda Ritz agrees. This month, she called on state lawmakers to adopt a program for all students statewide by 2020.

“We have to absolutely invest in our little ones, and I want it open to all students who might want to attend a high quality pre-K program,” Ritz told reporters during a press conference.

According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, there are currently 57 state-funded preschool programs in 42 states.

Indiana has adopted a pilot program for lower-income preschool students and Republican Gov. Mike Pence said he’d like to expand it. A spokesperson for Pence’s re-election campaign said the governor looks forward to working with the General Assembly to do so “in a responsible manner” using state funds, philanthropic funds and possibly federal funds.