Preschool Program Safe For Another Year

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

DUBUQUE, Iowa - With the pending financial crisis just days away one Dubuque family was relieved to learn that the state's free preschool program will likely stick around through the next fiscal year.

Right now, the state offers 10 hours of free preschool per week for four-year-olds.

In 2011, Governor Branstad put that program on the chopping block.
And this year, families grew worried that it could face elimination again during the upcoming legislative session.

Neither the Governor nor the Iowa Department of Education plan to touch that program this year.

The things soon to be 4- year-old, Lucy Koelker learns at preschool absolutely floor her parents. Jeff and Annie Koelker are thrilled to learn they'll be able to afford to send Lucy to full-time preschool next year.

"There are so many unknowns right now with the legislature here in Iowa, but also with the fiscal cliff going on. You don't know what your budget is going to be. Your taxes potentially are going up,"
Jeff Koelker said.

If the program didn't exist, the couple says they would have to come up with an additional $300 per month for child care costs.

"It's not just a little bit of spending cash or extra shopping. That's a lot of money," Annie Koelker said.
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