Lake County is one of 18 counties in Indiana announced as pre-qualified finalists for the five-county pre-K pilot program. The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, or FSSA, reports the pre-qualified counties represent 12 urban and six rural counties from all regions of the state. The pilot program provides funding for pre-kindergarten for low income 4 year olds with services delivered via public schools, accredited private schools and qualified providers.
The 18 counties are Allen, Bartholomew, Delaware, Elkhart, Grant, Howard, Jackson, Kosciusko, Lake, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Noble, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe, Vanderburgh, Vigo and Wayne.
The FSSA reports the list was narrowed down to 18 counties by examining numerous objective measures including the estimated number of children not currently receiving services, the number of eligible providers and the percentage of children living in poverty in each county.
The program, established in House Bill 1004, was co-authored by Crown Point Democratic State Representative Shelli VanDenburgh.
Interested parties from each county are invited to submit a written Statement of County Readiness addressing certain county readiness measures, including the county's ability to assist with meeting the financial match, participation of current and new providers, community and family engagement, and county readiness for early launch in January 2015. For more information on the "Statement of County Readiness," please go here. The written statements are due June 30, 2014, and will be reviewed and scored by a panel of experts.
FSSA will host two webinars to explain the application and selection process to interested parties in each county. The first webinar is scheduled for June 12 at 9:30 a.m. EST. A second webinar will be held a week before the final submissions are due to address any last-minute questions or concerns.