Hamilton: House GOP rejects expansion of pre-K to all 92 counties

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis) today offered a proposal to the biennial state budget (House Bill 1001) that would expand Indiana’s pre-Kindergarten program statewide. House Republicans defeated the proposal in a party-line vote.

Hamilton’s proposal would have:

     —Increased funding from $44 million to $175 million for the biennium.

     —Expanded the pre-K program to include all eligible providers in every county in Indiana.

Currently, 4-year-olds from low-income families in 20 counties across Indiana can access grants and scholarships through the On My Way pre-K program.

“The benefits of pre-K in assisting a child’s early development have been studied and proven effective for many years,” Hamilton said. “It is time to stop considering pre-K as a pilot program for Indiana. We need to expand it to all 92 counties, and we need to do it now.”

The funding contained in Hamilton’s proposal would have allowed more than 19,000 additional children throughout Indiana to attend pre-K programs throughout Indiana, serving the most vulnerable of Indiana’s approximately 84,000 4-year-olds.

“We’ve already passed legislation this session (House Bill 1628) that could pave the way for statewide pre-K, but the budget provides zero new dollars for the program,” Hamilton said. “My proposal would have significantly increased funding for an investment that would support our children and working families.”

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