Legislative leaders outlined their priorities for the 2017 General Assembly Monday, and all agreed they want to expand the state’s pre-K scholarship program. The question that will face the full General Assembly is how much it will be expanded.
Republican and Democratic legislative leaders from both chambers agree state funded pre-K should be a priority in the upcoming legislative session. It’s an sentiment that began earlier this year when business leaders announced an initiative encouraging the legislature to expand the current pre-K pilot program, On My Way Pre-K.
That program exists in five counties and currently serves around 2,500 kids from low-income families. There’s estimates on how many seats are currently open if the state decides to offer more money in scholarships for these students, some saying 5,000.
Going from currently 2,500 students to almost tripling the program isn’t unreasonable according to House speaker Brian Bosma, but he says it just depends on financial forecasts.
“This may be a tighter session than normal,” Bosma says. “I think that will in part dictate how broadly we expand the program.”
Democrat leaders Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, and Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, expressed interest in expanding the program statewide.
The legislative session begins in early January.