© 2024 Maine Public
1450 Lisbon St.
Lewiston, ME 04240

Maine Public Membership Department
63 Texas Ave.
Bangor, ME 04401

Portland Office
323 Marginal Way
Portland, ME 04101

Registered 501(c)(3) EIN: 22-3171529
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Scroll down to see all available streams.
Education resources provided by the Maine Public:PBS LearningMediaSTEM Resource Bank

Maine Lawmakers Consider Measures That Would Expand Public Pre-K In The State

Maine Public

The Maine legislature is considering a number of measures aimed at expanding public pre-K programs.

One would direct the state Department of Education to begin developing recommendations, with a goal that every school district offer preschoolto four-year-olds by the 2020-21 school year. Two other bills would require the state to provide at least half the costof public preschool.

In testimony before the Education Committee Wednesday, Democratic State Sen. Rebecca Millett said the legislation would help to ease the financial burden on local districts that would be required to set up or expand pre-K.

“If we are serious about making sure that all children have the opportunity for quality early learning, then we need to remove this financial barrier - such that it benefits our state and our children, no matter the zip code," Millett says.

The Maine Women's Lobby and representatives from law enforcement and school administration also spoke in support of the measures. Whitney Parrish of the Maine Women's Lobby says that expanding public preschool will help young students and their families.

"Making funds available for towns to use towards starting up their own public preschools is a direct effort towards make Maine a hospitable place for young, working families," Parrish says.

The Maine Heritage Policy Center, a conservative advocacy group, opposes the bills, citing concerns about the potential costs to taxpayers.

Gov. Janet Mills has declared universal Pre-K a goal of her administration, and included funding in her proposed budgetfor expansion of the program.

Originally published 4:04 p.m. May 1, 2019