STATEHOUSE—House Bill (HB) 1004, authored by House Education Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) and co-authored by House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis) passed out of the Senate today with a 44-4 vote. HB 1004 establishes the Pre-K and early learning study commission. The bill was amended in the Senate to remove language establishing a preschool pilot program for low-income students.
· Studying the economic benefits of Pre-K or early learning programs;
· Studying the feasibility of obtaining a block grant and necessary waivers under the federal Head Start program to establish an early learning scholarship program or another type of alternative program;
· Studying the feasibility of obtaining a Child Care and Development Block Grant or other federal funds to fund Pre-K or early learning education programs in Indiana;
· Studying options for funding Pre-K or early learning programs, including opportunities to partner with businesses, philanthropic or community leaders
· Reviewing whether other states have developed rigorous accountability standards for Pre-K or early learning programs
“The outcome of this bill was not what we initially hoped for, but House Republicans will continue to work on our proposal to provide a high quality preschool opportunity for low-income families. Establishing a study commission is at least a step towards continuing the conversation so we can hopefully have everyone on board in the coming year, as this topic is not only an education issue, but inevitably a workforce issue for our state,” said Speaker Bosma.
The bill now returns to the House for further action.