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State Senate Dems to present pre-K education plan

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane says his caucus will offer legislation next year creating a statewide early education program.

The Anderson Democrat said Thursday that the legislation would allow local school corporations to develop their own programs in conjunction with the Indiana Department of Education and allow schools to create partnerships with early education providers that meet criteria established by the state.

The proposal also would lower the mandatory school age to 5.

The plan depends on additional funding for schools. Lanane says he's open to ideas on how to best fund the proposal.

Senate Education Chairman Dennis Kruse says he welcomes Lanane's proposal. The Republican lawmaker from Auburn notes the budget the Legislature passed earlier this year set aside $4 million for an early education pilot program.