INDIANAPOIS – Indiana Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) and State Representative Sue Errington (D-Muncie) announced today that they will join together to urge lawmakers to extend pre-K funding to Delaware County.
Earlier this year, the Indiana General Assembly approved legislation that enabled Gov. Mike Pence to select five counties to serve as pilots for pre-K programming. Even though Delaware County was not among the areas selected for the pilot project, Lanane and Errington agreed that the area they represent has taken significant strides in recent years to endorse the idea of giving area children the tools they need to get a step ahead.
“There is a real need for every county in Indiana to receive pre-K funding, but that need is particularly acute in Delaware County, where the community has already made a strong commitment toward seeing this idea become reality,” Lanane said.
Errington added, “As a member of the House Education Committee, early childhood learning is a priority for me. While the state has taken a step toward achieving that goal, the creation of a five-county pilot program is only a very small step. If we are to be serious about this, it only makes sense for the state to expand it to places like Delaware County, where the infrastructure and community support is already in place to expand early childhood education.”
Delaware County’s commitment toward pre-K instruction stretches back to 2012, when a Community Summit involving more than 70 area leaders adopted a mission statement that called for making every child in the county Kindergarten Ready by 2020.
Following the Community Summit, research conducted by Muncie kindergarten school teachers concluding that over 50% of Muncie students were not prepared for the kindergarten experience that awaited them. Many children in Muncie are living below poverty level and over 90% of the students participate in the free or reduced lunch program. Studies show that these are the children who would benefit the most from high quality pre-K programming.
Studies also show that 85% of brain development occurs before age 5, so it makes perfect sense to invest in the early education of Delaware County students so that they are prepared to have successful futures and contribute to the workforce.
“Pre-K is something that has brought the people of Delaware County together, and I will continue to make it a priority as Senate Democratic Leader to answer the call of the community that I represent,” Lanane professed.
In response to the Community Summit and the disparities facing Delaware County, the community of Muncie set out to improve early-childhood education by forming the Muncie Before 5 (B-5) initiative. B-5, headed up by Carrie Bale, sees pre-K education as a primary economic development strategy, investing in the future of Delaware County.
According to Bale, “Pre-K funding would provide a greater opportunity to increase synergy and move forward with programs that we already have in place, giving us the ability to expand early-childhood education to a community in need.”
Sen. Lanane represents Indiana Senate District 25 includes the portions of Madison and Delaware counties, including the City of Muncie and portions of the City of Anderson. For more information on Sen. Lanane, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/S25 .
Rep. Errington represents Indiana House District 34, which includes the City of Muncie. For more information on Rep. Errington, contact her at 1-800-382-9842 or visit http://indianahousedemocrats.org/sue-errington.