Boise Democrats and business leaders stand behind state-funded pre –K

Posted at 10:26 PM, Jan 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-13 00:28:02-05

A group of Idaho lawmakers is getting ready to introduce legislation that would bring state-funded pre-K to the Gem State. It is an issue supported not just by many education leaders but also the business community.

Boise Democratic representative Hy Klock is getting ready to introduce legislation he says would put Idaho on the same page as many other states with state-funded pre -K education.

"I would love to see Idaho instead of saying ‘K -12’ say ‘P - 20’ -- pre-school through college," said representative  Hy Klock.

Klock says studies show that children who attend pre-school are less likely to go to jail, and they get higher paying jobs. This is not Rep. Klock’s first time working to get legislation like this pushed through the statehouse, but, with the backing of the business community behind him, he is hoping to get it done this time around.

"I always think we have a chance. I'm always the optimist," said representative  Klock.

The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce is just one business organization backing state-funded pre-K. They say the earlier children start learning, the more prepared they will be when it is time for them to join the workforce.

"Pre-K may seem like a small portion of the education system as a whole, but we view it as vital," said Caroline Merritt of The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce.

The  Boise School District and others have experimented with a pre-K pilot program, and now some in the statehouse and business community say it is time for all children to have that same opportunity.

"We want to kind of level the playing field for all children at that age and ensure that they at least have the option to attend pre-school if that's what their parents desire," said Merritt.

Representative Kloc says with his proposed legislation, Pre-K would be funded by both the state and cooperatives set up by school districts.