HB 1004: Governor's Preschool Bill May be Revived in Down-sized Pilot?
StateImpact Indiana just reported that legislative leaders are considering reviving the Governor's preschool program bill this time is the form of a small pilot.
As a refresher, the Govenor had proposed HB 1004 which would have created a preschool program for certain students based on income guidelines that would have also allowed for yet another automatic path to K-12 vouchers. That is, students who participated in the preschool program and their siblings would be entitled to a K-12 voucher without first ever having to attend a public school and been funded under the public school funding formula. The consequence of this is that for every student who was never first counted, the money that follows that child to a private school comes directly out of the public school funds appropriated for public school students.
Certainly, no educator would devalue preschool. However, we are at a point in this state where we haven't fully-funded full-day kindergarten and we still have a start age for school of 7 years of age. That is why the study committee proposed by the Senate made sense. There are several relevant issues that need to be addressed.
ISTA has not seen a draft of the "tailored-down" pilot program, but ISTA would oppose it if it still includes automatic K-12 voucher eligibility and if it begins funding in this next school year--before the long, budget-writing session.