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Preschool funding cut by millions in state school funding bill

A state school funding bill passed through the Republican legislature will increase public school funding but cuts $7.4 million in state preschool funding.
Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 7:57 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -A state school funding bill passed through the Republican legislature, is now on the Governor’s desk. It increases public school funding but cuts $7.4 million in state preschool funding.

Cathy Meyer works with the nonprofit “Save the Children Action Network.” She also taught preschool for several years. “We all know birth through 5 is when the brain develops the most,” she said.

That’s one reason why she is fighting the funding decrease. She says it could cost 2,600 Iowa children access to free preschool.

“It cuts the slots because funding for the voluntary preschool program must come from the state,” she said. “We can’t get a bond or try to get money from the city or any other way.”

The program pays for preschool for families who can’t afford it. Lovely Lane Preschool and Trinity Lane Preschool in Cedar Rapids uses it. They are private schools, but partners with the Cedar Rapids Community School District for the program.

“At our one location, we have over 75% of those children are from lower income families,” said Dawn DuPont with Lovely Lane Preschool. “I know those children specifically won’t go to preschool if it’s not free.”

“Without the volunteer preschool slot,” added Meyer. “Those children start kindergarten so far behind their peers.”

Republicans say they are working on a plan to help preschools Meyer says she will continue fighting for the tiny voices that may not be heard.

“Our legislators need to guarantee funding for these programs to keep Iowa on track,” she said. “We can’t go backwards on this.”

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