Behning’s bill expanding Indiana’s pre-K pilot program signed into law

Posted by: Samantha Holifield  | Thursday, April 27, 2017 8:41 am

STATEHOUSE (April 27, 2017) — Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law Wednesday State Rep. Bob Behning’s (R-Indianapolis) legislation expanding Indiana’s pre-K pilot program.

House Enrolled Act 1004 will expand the state’s pilot pre-K program, On My Way Pre-K, to up to 15 additional, primarily rural counties. This measure will double the amount of low-income families who could benefit from the program. On My Way Pre-K was established in 2014 and currently serves nearly 2,300 students in Allen, Lake, Marion, Jackson and Vanderburgh counties. As with the original five counties, only high-quality programs and providers will be eligible to participate.

“With the expansion of the pilot program, I hope to bring more high-quality, early education opportunities to the children that are most in need and those who live in rural communities,” said Behning, chair of the House Committee on Education. “Along with expanding On My Way Pre-K, we are incorporating online, in-home learning programs that can provide another option to students, especially those in more rural areas. We are taking strong steps toward closing the achievement gap low-income children often face and preparing them for success in their academic careers.”

On My Way Pre-K’s eligibility requirements and income threshold will remain the same at 127 percent of the federal poverty level. However, for the five original counties, if programs are at capacity, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration can raise the income eligibility to 185 percent of the federal poverty level to reach more low-income families in these higher cost of living communities. Even with these revised eligibility requirements, Behning said top priority will still be given to children who are most in need.

Funding for this pilot program was increased by $20 million over the biennium in the state’s budget.

This law will go into effect on July 1. Visit iga.in.gov to learn more about this legislation.

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State Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) represents House District 91,

which includes portions of Hendricks and Marion counties.

A high-resolution photo of Behning can be downloaded by clicking here.