Proposed preschool could cost families thousands - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Proposed preschool could cost families thousands

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL)-- Governor Terry Branstad unveiled a new preschool program Monday. Branstad is proposing to replace Iowa's current program with a scholarship plan that would offer assistance to most families.

The governor says the state can't afford the current 90 million dollar a year program. His program is 43- million dollars.

That means cuts and some local preschools are getting nervous on what could potentially happen to their children's early education.

"We think that this is critical that all children have some opportunities and there are lots of things you can do with your children at home, but some of the social and emotional growth is hard to do without other children," said Linda Jacoby, Cedar Valley Preschool and Day Care Director.

Jacoby says governor terry branstad's proposed preschool cuts could be detrimental.

"We have already cut 24 percent, how much more can we cut."

She says they already have scholarships for children and parts of the funding for those scholarships are on the chopping block.

"That means those children don't have that resource and those are children who don't fit in some other funding stream such as department of human services or promised jobs. This is an opportunity for them to have that option for their children."

Branstad's lower-quality program would force all Iowa families to pay to enroll their children in preschool. That would cost some families thousands of dollars each year.

Jacoby says these decisions not only affect them, but the economy as well.

"Even new families coming in looking at our state as a place of employment are looking for good quality preschool and child care options with their children in terms of them making this the best choice to settle down as a family."

With the new plan needy families would need to pay at least three dollars a month.  Also families earning up to 67-thousand dollars a year could qualify.  That family would pay 133 dollars a month.

Only about half of Iowa's 4-year-old are enrolled in preschools. Branstad says he wants to expand that by promoting his program.

Online Reporter: Nikki Newbrough

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