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Leising: Bill to Count Pre-K Participants Passes Senate

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 21, 2017) – A bill authored by State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) to determine the level of participation in Indiana pre-K programs passed the full Senate today by a vote of 41-5.

Senate Bill 224 would require the Indiana Department of Education and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration to conduct a survey to determine how many four-year-old Indiana students were enrolled in prekindergarten during the 2015-2016 school year.

“Right now, the state of Indiana is unsure how many children are enrolled in pre-K programs,” Leising said. “Before we expand state funding for these programs, we need to make sure students are utilizing them.”

Last September, the Early Learning Advisory Committee conducted a survey, which found that approximately 84,333 four-year-old children live in Indiana. However, the state does not know the exact number of four-year-olds served by all categories of pre-K programs. Current total funding reported by the Indiana Early Learning Advisory Committee from state and federal sources is $427,885,959.

Some children are served by Head Start, Child Care and Development Fund vouchers, special education preschool, public school prekindergarten, Early Matching Grant preschool, On My Way preschool, church and private preschools, and the online pilot UPSTART program in Floyd County.

“This survey would allow us to find the overall number and verify the number of students enrolled in the programs rated by Paths to Quality,” Leising said. “Once we know this information, we will be able to make an informed decision about prekindergarten opportunities.”

SB 224 will now be considered by the House of Representatives.

Molly Swigart, Press Secretary

Lindsey Ross, Press Secretary Intern