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(INDIANAPOLIS) – The House has voted to take the state’s preschool program statewide.

The bill doesn’t add any money to the preschool program, but it makes the funding available at any preschool which meets state standards. Right now, it’s limited to 20 pilot counties.

House Education Chairman Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) says a lot of the money set aside for “On My Way Pre-K” in the last budget went unspent, partly because the enrollment process was already well underway by the time the money arrived with the start of the fiscal year.

Behning’s bill also expands eligibility further above the poverty line, and to students living with grandparents or a disabled parent. 80-percent of the preschool scholarships would be reserved for the lowest-income students. Behning says without preschool, those students typically start out behind their classmates and have trouble catching up.

The House approved expanding statewide 84-13. The Senate will consider the bill next month.

(Photo: Graham Oliver/Thinkstock)