Lawmakers hope to find funding for pre-k education

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A bill that would help fund pre-school education is the state is generating buzz at the capitol.

The pre-k bill is expected to target kids at risk of falling behind before they even enter public school.

It's an idea that didn't gain much traction last legislative session. The new bill is in the drafting phase and lays out a different plan for pre-school funding.

“We are no longer picking our favorite or a preferred pre-school model, it is all hands on deck,” said Rep. Greg Hughes. “It is ‘everyone get ready’ and I think that's the difference between this year and last year.”

Regardless of what that pre-school program looks like, in-home, Montessori or other, the state would pay for the program, after that child is tested and the state determines they are learning at grade level.

Hughes estimates it would cost the state $5 million a year.

“We struggle to fund K-12 as is, so before we jump into another expensive item we need to balance where can we best spend money.” said Rep. Stephen Urquhart from St. George.

Educators say kids from lower income homes often arrive at kindergarten unprepared and have to be enrolled in special education classes.

“Those classes are expensive. They are more expensive than regular schooling.” said Terry Haven, deputy director of Voices for Utah Children.

Hughes said the state spends $10 to $30 million on intervention funding for kids who fall behind.

Hughes added the state could save money by catching the problem early on.


  • Alicia Sanders

    It is very important for parents to support and help their children at such an early age. If you take a look at our education segment in general, you will see where all problems begin: lack of parents’ support and government which ignore highly important pre-k and kindergarten education as it is where you actually prepare children to school and adopt them to adult life. Roots start here and here only, that s why we should care more and as a result we will get children who absolutely no problems writing brilliant science research papers in college or great dissertation, etc.

  • Arlee

    Born poor, both parents worked to make a living. One worked nights and the other days. No pre-school, no kindergarten, no church socialization, just a Mom with a little blackboard and some chalk. Started school at age six. Graduated from high school and BS in college. Now I am old and perhaps a little wiser. Leave the kids at home with their parents and they will do fine! We do not need well meaning people in government to raise our kids! Why do you think more and more people in Utah are pulling their kids out of public schools and home schooling? The kids seem to be doing better than those in school. The pre-school and kindergarten are done at home.! My 2 cents.

  • Arlee

    And as far as writing a great dissertation, Utah has to many PhD’s in soft majors that are willing to take a job that requires a high school education.

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