INDIANAPOLIS – On Tuesday, Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Jean D. Breaux (D-Indianapolis) and State Senator Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) joined other members of the Senate Democratic Caucus in voicing support for Marion County being chosen as one of the five counties that will be taking part in the state’s first early childhood education pilot program. Sen. Taylor noted a number of far-reaching benefits as reason for swift implementation of the pre-K pilot program.

“Quality early childhood education programs in other states have yielded numerous educational and economic benefits,” said Sen. Taylor. “It is about time Indiana takes this small, but promising, step forward in ensuring our young children are ready for lifelong learning.”

The Senate Democratic Caucus made early childhood education a legislative priority during the 2014 General Assembly session citing the fact Indiana was one of only nine states that did not have a state-funded pre-K program. House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1004 established a pilot program in five counties and will make it available to about 4,000 low-income children in households making up to 127% of the federal poverty level (represents a family of four earning up to $30,289 annually). Public schools, charter schools, private entities, child care providers, and child care ministries that meet certain criteria will be able to participate.

While the act calls for implementation this fall, Governor Pence and his administration had not taken the necessary steps for the program to begin within the time frame laid out by the act. Finally, today the governor announced the program is expected to begin in Allen, Lake, Marion, Jackson and Vanderburgh counties in 2015.

“Now is the time to take action, not just take credit for a five county pilot program,” said Sen. Breaux. “The governor and his administration need to make every effort to implement this program in the timeframe laid out in the new law so we can start seeing the returns in our investment and expand these opportunities to all Hoosier children.”

Sen. Breaux represents Indiana Senate District 34 which includes the near eastside of Indianapolis including portions of Center, Washington, Lawrence and Warren Townships. For more information on Sen. Breaux’s legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/S34.

Sen. Taylor represents Senate District 33 which includes portions of Wayne, Pike, Washington and Center townships in Marion County. For more information on Sen. Taylor, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/s33.

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