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Early Childhood

Iowa Gov. Proposes Preschool Vouchers

By Maureen Kelleher — February 18, 2011 1 min read

Looks like Iowa is proving a bellwether among states with shifts in party control and how that may impact state-funded preschool.

According to the Des Moines Register, the Republican-controlled House has voted not to fund the state’s highly regarded, voluntary pre-K program. Senate Democrats wanted to maintain the program at a cost of $70 million.

Earlier this week, Gov. Terry Branstad proposed a $43 million voucher plan that would set aside up to $3,000 per student in state money for vouchers that would follow 4-year-old children to the public or private preschools of their families’ choice. The money would pay for up to 10 hours of classes per week.

Families would pay fees on a sliding scale based on federal poverty guidelines up to 300 percent. All families would pay something, but fees would range from $3 a month for the neediest families to $133 a month for a family of four that earns $67,000 a year.

House Speaker Kraig Paulsen acknowledged the governor’s plan could be considered a compromise, but he did not immediately endorse it.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.