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Bosma 'not sure' preschool pilot can happen this year

Says study committee would bring sides to table

INDIANAPOLIS – House Speaker Brian Bosma seemed resigned Thursday to the fact that a state-funded preschool pilot program won't happen this year.

His comments came a day after a Senate panel gutted House Bill 1004, choosing instead to further study the issue of early learning this summer.

"I'm not sure that one's going to be accomplished," Bosma said during a meeting with reporters.

He was much more upbeat about negotiations on a business personal property tax cut and more highway road funding.

"We haven't thrown the towel in on that, but it's difficult to have three issues and walk away with three wins," Bosma said. "Even agreement for a major study of pre-kindergarten is actually a victory because it's been difficult to get people at the table to hear and receive information and opinions in this regards.

"It will probably require a study committee to overcome some of the objections."

Bosma and House Republicans have pushed for a pilot preschool program for two years, and this year Gov. Mike Pence also got on board, making it a key legislative priority.

Indiana is one of only 10 states that doesn't directly fund pre-kindergarten education. Supporters said statistics show children in poverty show up to school already behind.

For more on this story, see Friday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit after 3 a.m. Friday.