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The Indiana Daily Student

city education

Pre-K enrollment now open, will be subsidized for some MCCSC families


Pre-K enrollment is now open for schools in the Monroe County Community School Corporation,.and this year, some students will be able to attend for free.  

MCCSC passed its latest referendum Nov. 7, 2023, which provided funding for early childhood education and allowed the MCCSC to subsidize pre-K tuition and expand access to programs.  

“There was a need in this community to expand capacity for early learning, particularly the ages that we're adding to our schools, including three and four-year-olds,” Tim Dowling, MCCSC director of early learning and enrollment, said. 

Part of that expansion means the school district is adding 13 new pre-K classrooms to their existing 20, which will hopefully accommodate around 260 new pre-K students, according to Dowling.  It’ll also go towards paying teachers who are certified in early learning. 

Pre-K programs will be offered at 13 elementary schools, and programs are subsidized at the child’s respective districted school, where the child would go to kindergarten. Maps of school districts can be found on the MCCSC transportation website. Transportation will be provided, and Dowling said the district has ensured their buses are equipped to handle pre-K students. 

Tuition is subsidized in three groups. Families who earn less than 225% of the household income needed to qualify for free and reduced lunch  can send their children to Pre-K for free; families who earn between 225% and 325% would owe $2,000 per calendar year; all families who earn more than 325% of the qualifying income for free and reduced lunch would pay $4,000 per calendar year.  The full cost of the program is $8,000, according to Dowling, meaning all households receive some form of subsidy. 

Free and reduced lunch income guidelines are defined by income per household member. For example, a family of three who makes under $55,935 and a family of four who makes under $67,500 would both qualify for free pre-K. A full guideline breakdown is available in the online MCCSC Early Childhood Education brochure. 

Dowling said that having pre-K in elementary schools prepares students for higher grades. 

“There's increased reading and math scores, there's research that shows there's increased creativity and development of social skills and brain development,” Dowling said. “So, we believe that having our pre-K as part of our elementary buildings is really going to lead to a lot of these positive results.” 

In addition to its internal programs, the school department is working on partnerships with outside providers. If providers are approved — meaning they have a Family and Social Services Administration level of 3 or 4 and are nonreligious — they’d receive the same subsidies as districted schools. Dowling encouraged outside providers interested in qualifying to reach out to the Early Learning Center. 

Schedules vary by school, but all schools start at or between 9:00 and 9:30 a.m. and end at or between 3:45 and 4:15 p.m. However, if these are prohibitive, extended day programs are available. Children can be dropped off starting at 7 a.m. and must be picked up by 5:30 p.m. 

Extended Day programs include a separate cost and follow a separate enrollment. Parents with questions or inquiries can reach out to Angie Williams, the MCCSC early learning family liaison, or other staff at the Early Learning center. 

Children who turn four before or on Aug. 1 will be evaluated for special education needs regardless of enrollment, and children who turn four after Aug. 1 will be evaluated if they’re enrolled. 

Preschool enrollment for three-year olds is also open. It’s not subsidized this year, but for the 2025-26 school year, preschool funding will be available for income-eligible families.

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