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Preschool Vouchers Could Hurt School Districts

Posted: Friday, March 11th, 2011 at 6:30 am
Author: KCII News - Bill Gatchel

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Lawmakers in Des Moines were divided Tuesday night after talking about preschool funding.  House members voted 55 to 45 to eliminate free preschool and create a voucher system.  This proposal would mean families receiving a scholarship would contribute between $3 and $133 a month for preschool.

The scholarships would range from $200 to $330 a month based on income.  Washington Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Jorgensen says their preschool program has early childhood, certified special education instructors which provides funding and he is hoping that they could still provide a free preschool with the voucher system based on this funding.

He says if they did not have any students with special needs, they would have to charge for preschool under this proposal.  Dr. Jorgensen notes he doesn’t think the Senate will accept the voucher system.  He anticipates there will be a compromise on the funding stream.

Dr. Jorgensen says the legislature made a good move 4 years ago when they implemented the free preschool for all program.