A new report from a non-profit early education advocacy group shows that Kentucky is among states improving in the number of state dollars spent for Pre-Kindergarten education programs.
According to “The State of Preschool Yearbook” by The National Institute for Early Education Research, the 2014-2015 school year saw improvement in state-by-state Pre-K funding across the nation, marking a steady growth in the years following the Great Recession.
Last year, Kentucky spent more than $71,767,000 dollars funding Pre-K programs, equating to $3,835 dollars per enrolled child, ages 3 and 4. This is $360 higher than in 2010. This amount is only money contributed to schools by the state and not from federal funds or other sources.
While the money per student increased, there has been a slight decline in Pre-K enrollment, dropping from 30% in 2010 to 26% last school year.
The report attributes the now-18,716 child enrollment to changes in the age eligibility requirements set by HB235 in 2014, which says a child may enroll in preschool if they are 4-years-old by August 1st rather than the previous October 1st deadline.
The report says while there has been no formal evaluation of the Kentucky Preschool Program in some years, it does note the state’s work towards supporting quality programs.
Earlier this year, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin committed more than $90 million dollars per year for preschool programs and dedicated $7.5 million per year for grants to develop full-day programs for young children.