Lake County Pilot Pre-K Program Moves Ahead Of Deadline
By Chris Nolte, Lakeshore Public Radio
December 16, 2014 — Monday’s deadline is past for families in Lake County to initially enroll their children in the upcoming pilot pre-kindergarten program…. and it looks like about 150 are signed up in time for the roll-out next month.
Four counties, including Lake, are involved in the pilot program announced by Governor Pence.
Dennis Rittenmeyer of “One Region” is in charge of fundraising for Lake County’s program. “We have been successful in our fundraising efforts, thanks to our donors. And now, we go on to the next problem: we gotta link the eligible families with the eligible providers and hope it all works out. We’re not going to know until January.”
One of the keys to success, even for the pilot program, will be coming up with enough providers in the right places. “There’s some matchmaking that has to occur here in a relatively short period of time. While we know there are enough empty seats among the eligible providers, there could be an empty seat in East Chicago but the family is in Crown Pint or Hobart.”
Once a child receives a grant, parents may choose from any of the eligible, enrolled “On My Way Pre-K” programs. The Family and Social Service Administration is still accepting applications from interested providers, and will continue to do so on a rolling basis.
The FSSA says a list of eligible providers is expected to come out from the state by the end of this month. Families must have an income below 127-percent of the federal poverty level – a little more than $30,000 a year for a family of four. Eligible children must be four years old and planning to start kindergarten in August 2015.