Cook: Bill providing more early education opportunities to at-risk Hoosiers signed into law

Posted by: Devan Strebing  | Monday, June 26, 2017

STATEHOUSE (June 26, 2017) — Gov. Eric Holcomb today ceremonially signed into law a bill supported by State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) 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.

“Delaware, Grant, Howard and Madison counties are now eligible to participate in this beneficial program,” said Cook, vice-chair of the House Committee on Education. “By expanding this program locally, our at-risk children will be able to attend a high-quality preschool. We can close the achievement gap low-income children often face and better prepare them for success in their academic careers.”

Holcomb recently announced the 15 additional counties eligible to participate in On My Way Pre-K. Along with Delaware, Grant, Howard and Madison counties, Bartholomew, DeKalb, Elkhart, Floyd, Harrison, Kosciusko, Marshall, Monroe, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe and Vigo counties can all 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, Cook 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. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) represents House District 32, which includes all of Tipton County and portions of Hamilton, Madison, Delaware, Howard and Grant counties.

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