Plans Advance for State-Funded Mississippi Preschool

By Kathryn Merriman

Plans for Mississippi to fund voluntary preschool are sprinting out of committees.

House and Senate Education committees approved separate measures Thursday to set up classes for four-year-olds.

The bills move to the full chambers for more debate.

Both the House and Senate call for local groups to set up consortiums between public schools, Head Start programs, private child care centers and nonprofit groups.

The groups would apply for grants, matching them with local money.

State funding differs between the proposals.

The House puts up $2 million, creating 1,000 spaces the first year.

Money would be raised from private donations, with donors getting dollar-for-dollar tax credits.

The Senate puts up $6 million from regular state funds, creating 3,500 spaces the first year.

Local groups could raise some donations using tax credits.

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