Hundreds of Pre-K supporters, from all around the state, are calling on Indiana lawmakers to grow the state’s Pre-K programs for low-income children.
The advocates, who are part of the All IN 4 Pre-K campaign, rallied and met with lawmakers Wednesday at the Indiana Statehouse. They were demonstrating their support for growing the state’s existing pre-k programs during the 2017 legislative session. They say that expanding high-quality pre-k to more low-income children is an educational and economic imperative for the state.
“In every Indiana county, Hoosiers are coming forward to tell their legislators that our state is ready for pre-k expansion,” said Ann D. Murtlow, President and CEO of United Way of Central Indiana. “Overwhelming evidence shows that success in school and in life starts early, and the opportunity to grow Indiana’s pre-k programs will reap academic and social benefits for kids and positive economic outcomes for our state.”
Many attendees met with legislators and staff to voice their support for growing pre-k so that more 4-year-olds can attend high-quality pre-k programs.
The All IN 4 Pre-K campaign believes that in order to make an impact, the state should invest $50 million into the program, which is a $38-million increase from the $12 million Indiana currently spends.
They say the $50 million investment would increase the number of low-income children who can access pre-k and build a strong pipeline of pre-k teachers. It would also help approximately 7,000 low-income Hoosier children access high-quality pre-k by raising the eligibility income threshold to include families at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty limit, which is the same threshold for receiving reduced-price lunch, or $44,955 annually for a family of four.
Lawmakers such as Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch also addressed the crowd.