Rep. Daus is not responsible for any of the comments posted on this blog. Let's keep the comments clean and refrain from bashing. Thanks!

Monday, February 5, 2007

House Democrats propose preschool program

House Democrats on Monday announced legislation to establish a pilot public preschool program for 4-year-olds serving 5,000 children in a mix of rural, urban and suburban school districts.

Under legislation sponsored by state Reps. Clint Zweifel, D-Florissant, and Margaret Donnelly, D-St. Louis, any school district with a minimum of 30 percent of its students eligible for the free or reduced lunch program could apply for state grants to establish comprehensive preschool programs. Grants would be awarded based on need and a district’s ability to successfully implement a preschool program.

“The foundation for academic success is laid before a child begins kindergarten,” Zweifel said. “Providing more children, especially those from poorer areas, with the opportunity to attend preschool will improve their chances of achieving academic excellence.”

All students in a participating district would be eligible for the preschool program regardless of their family’s income. Districts, however, would be allowed to charge parents according to a sliding scale based on family income. Students whose family’s income is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level would attend for free.

“One way to build stronger public schools is to provide younger children with the tools to succeed,” Donnelly said. “This program is the first step toward universal preschool education in Missouri.”

No comments: