STATEHOUSE –House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1004, authored by House Education Committee Chairman Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) and co-authored by House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis), was signed into law by Governor Mike Pence. Chairman Behning and Speaker Bosma attended the ceremonial signing today at DayStar Childcare Ministry in Indianapolis.
HEA 1004 establishes a preschool pilot program for students from low-income families. Eligible students can receive grants between $2,500 and $6,800.
“HEA 1004 is truly a victory for Indiana,” said Chairman Behning. “Children of poverty start out their education almost a year and a half behind their peers, and House Republicans have worked hard to change that. Through this legislation, students will be on track with their peers and be able to set themselves up for success down the road, gaining more career opportunities in the future.”
Children who aren’t ready for kindergarten are half as likely to read proficiently by third grade. Additionally, students who cannot read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.
HEA 1004 creates a five-county preschool pilot program. Eligible students must be 4 years old with a family income of no more than 127 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, which is roughly $30,000 for a family of four. Indiana is currently one of 10 states that does not offer state-funded preschool programs.
“Helping students achieve their full potential later in life starts with a solid educational foundation,” said Speaker Bosma. “By expanding opportunities to low-income children through quality Pre-K education, we are supporting a stronger future for all Hoosier children.”
The bill also creates a study commission, which will study several topics including the economic benefits of Pre-K and early learning programs.