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The Need

Educational and Family Need

In short: Students and families face financial barriers to education 

  • Insufficient preschool space in the community and high costs limit student opportunity to improve kindergarten readiness.
  • The cost to families of such items as instructional supplies and AP tests similarly limits student educational opportunities
  • These barriers, particularly burdensome for lower-income families, would be diminished or eliminated through this initiative


In detail: Currently, fewer than half of 3- and 4-year-olds in the MCCSC community are enrolled in preschool programs. Primary barriers are cost - up to $8,500 annually for a quality PreK program - and a shortage of available slots.

Expanding early childhood opportunities matters because the importance and benefits of quality education are well documented and include:

  • A child’s brain develops faster from birth to age 4 or 5 than at any other time.
  • Access to high-quality education bolsters future learning, social skills, and overall health.
  • Children in high-quality Pre-K programs show accelerated gains in language and math kindergarten readiness.
  • Children who participate in high-quality preschool programs are 40% less likely to drop out of school.
  • Early learning programs narrow the equity gap by opening doors for lower-income families. 
  • children on playground
  • students in classroom

Economic Need: Family & Business Community

In short: A lack of affordable and quality PreK programming limits families’ earning power and deprives employers of needed talent

  • Data indicate that expanded early childhood education programs give more parents the option and opportunity of working outside the home.
  • Monroe County employers identify expanded early childhood education as a key to making workplace talent available and making the community more attractive to prospective employers.

In detail: In addition to meeting unfunded needs for families, the Family-Centered & Community-Focused initiative offers economic benefits for the MCCSC community. While quality early childhood services do exist now, expanding these services in an affordable way would open additional employment options for parents of preschool-age children. This, in turn, could boost family incomes, provide additional talent for local employers and attract new employers to Monroe County, as evidenced by these relevant statistics:

Among parents of students in Indiana’s Pre-K pilot program

  • 50% were able to increase work hours
  • 35% were able to find new employment
  • 33% were able to begin their own schooling

According to the Bloomington 2021 Census, individuals with children under 6 years old had a labor participation rate of only 74.4%, compared to an 83.6% rate for individuals with children ranging in age from 6 to 17 years.