Illinois Lawmakers Push Full-Day Kindergarten, Struggle To Fund It

SPRINGFIELD, IL (IRN) – The benefits of making all kindergarten a full-day program in Illinois is compelling to some education-minded lawmakers – but how to pay for it? State Rep. Chris Welch (D-Hillside) testified to a House Education Committee in favor of his bill that would change the kindergarten program.

“We have about 1,600 freshmen that came to us, in August, reading at third-, fourth- or fifth grade level. That’s not something we can correct at the high school level. That’s something that starts in early child development,” Welch said.

In February, the mayor of Chicago announced that all of the city’s kindergartens would become full-day.

Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman Laura Farr says, “It’s going to cost some money. I believe the expected budget for this is about $15 million for CPS.”

Welch said he wants to work with the committee in creating a funding system.

H.B. 2405 is in the House Elementary and Secondary Committee.


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