Governor Steve Beshear is urging state lawmakers to approve a budget proposal that would raise the income eligibility level for public preschool to 160 percent of the federal poverty rate.
Preschool in Kentucky is currently offered to 4-year-olds whose family income is 150 percent of the federal poverty level or less. Children with developmental delays or disabilities are also eligible. Beshear says more kids need to get an early start in school.
“You know increasing the enrollment by another 4,430 students certainly is a fairly easy thing to handle because obviously we’re also putting money in the budget to fund that in the second year of the biennium," said Beshear. "I think the proposal is $15 million it will cost to do that.”
Beshear wants to eventually expand the income eligibility to 200% of the federal poverty level. Advocates of preschool education say it improves a child’s ability to learn in kindergarten and later in school.