Behning's bill providing more early education opportunities to at-risk Hoosiers signed into law

Behning's bill providing more early education opportunities to at-risk Hoosiers signed into law

Posted by: Samantha Holifield  | Tuesday, June 27, 2017 9:17 am

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

House Enrolled Act 1004 expands the state’s pilot pre-K program, On My Way Pre-K, from five counties to 20. 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. 

“It’s been estimated that an additional 2,300 at-risk Hoosiers could be served in these new counties,” said Behning, chair of the House Committee on Education. “Students who participate in pre-K or similar programs have a jump start on their academic careers. Without some form of early education, 4-year-olds from low-income families often come to kindergarten not ready to learn alongside their classmates, potentially leading to an achievement gap that can still be present at age 10.” 

Holcomb recently announced the 15 additional counties eligible to participate in On My Way Pre-K. Bartholomew, DeKalb, Delaware, Elkhart, Floyd, Grant, Harrison, Howard, Kosciusko, Madison, Marshall, Monroe, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe and Vigo counties can begin enrolling children in the program for the 2018-2019 school year. 

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.

To find out more about Indiana’s early education programs and to learn about eligibility requirements, visit www.in.gov/fssa and click on Early Learning/Child Care.

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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.

 

Pictured: Gov. Eric Holcomb signs State Rep. Bob Behning’s (R-Indianapolis) legislation expanding Indiana’s pre-K pilot program during a ceremony at the Statehouse in Indianapolis on Monday, June 26, 2017. Supporters and advocates for pre-K attended the bill signing along with children from the Day Early Learning Center in Indianapolis. Pictured left to right seated at the table: Behning, House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis), Holcomb and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch.