Legislative Leaders Talk About Pilot Pre-School Plans
March 17, 2014 — Indiana Public Broadcasting–
Legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle are praising creation of a preschool pilot program as an historic achievement for Indiana. But as Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports, Democrats note it’s only a small step:
The approved legislation uses existing Family and Social Services Administration money in combination with private contributions to fund a pilot program in five counties that could provide up to 45 hundred low-income children with money to attend a high quality preschool. House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says that’s a fine first step…but it needs to be kept in perspective:
“That is planting a sapling when the state of Indiana needs an entirely new landscape. And while it’s a positive thing, it’s not something that we can say is going to transform Indiana’s children yet.”
Senate President Pro Tem David Long says his caucus thought it was important to take a careful approach that includes significant study and data-gathering:
“We’ll be taking a cautious, steady look at this pre-k program in a way that makes fiscal sense for Indiana and a way that maybe we can make it work where in some other places it hasn’t.”
Governor Mike Pence says he’s already identified the specific funding source for the program within FSSA and hopes to move quickly to implement the pilot.