Final five: The number of states without pre-K drops, again


Boise pre-k
The Boise School District launched a pre-K pilot program in 2015-16 — funded with city tax dollars and private donations. (Photo by Andrew Reed, Idaho Education News.)

For those keeping track — and early education advocates certainly are — Idaho is among an ever-dwindling list of states that do not fund pre-K.

Now, Idaho is among only five states without a pre-K program, according to a recent report from the Denver-based Education Commission of the States.

North Dakota flipped in 2015, putting $3 million of one-time money into a pre-K program for students who would be eligible for federal school lunch subsidies.

In all, states are spending close to $7 billion on pre-K, a 12 percent increase from 2014-15, according to the ECS report.

At this stage of the 2016 session, it would appear unlikely that Idaho will establish a pre-K program. Gov. Butch Otter and state superintendent Sherri Ybarra did not recommend pre-K funding in their respective public schools budget requests. In the past two sessions, pre-K pilot bills have not made it out of the House Education Committee.

The other states without a pre-K program are Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Three years ago, 11 states did not fund pre-K, according to the ECS report.



Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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