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Pence Signs Pre-K Pilot Bill

Brandon Smith
Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence signed legislation Thursday to create a preschool pilot program he says is the beginning of a new chapter of hope and opportunity for Indiana’s disadvantaged children.

The program will provide anywhere between two thousand and six thousand dollars per child so low-income Hoosier kids in five counties can attend a high quality preschool program.  Governor Pence signed the bill at DayStar Childcare Ministries in Indianapolis. 

Mike Bowling is the pastor of Englewood Christian Church, which runs DayStar.  He says the money the pilot program could provide would make an enormous difference.

“In a neighborhood like this one that has some economic challenges, it means that children won’t be sitting in front of the television set; they won’t be playing unattended out in yards,” Bowling said. “They’re going to be with other children and they’re going to be learning and they’re going to ready for kindergarten when the time comes.”

Pence says his administration is already working to get the program up and running as soon as possible.

“We’re going to identify those counties that we think are going to be best suited for rolling out this program and my hope is that we’ll be able to initiate this program within the next year,” Pence said.

The Family and Social Services Administration will provide $10 million for the program, while between $1 million and $5 million will come from private sources.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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