NC bill tightening pre-K eligibility clears panel

Apr. 30, 2013 @ 12:41 PM

A bill toughening income requirements for pre-K applicants heads to the North Carolina House after passing a committee.

The Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday approved a bill mandating that families earn less income than is currently required to enter North Carolina's Pre-Kindergarten program.

Eligibility is now capped at incomes of 75 percent of the state median, which is about twice the federal poverty rate. The measure would reduce it to the poverty rate, which is about $19,500 for a family of three.

Bill sponsor and Albemarle Republican Rep. Justin Burr says the legislation won't reduce the number of slots in the program. Democratic Rep. Verla Insko of Chapel Hill argued the state should instead look to expand pre-K offerings as a vital education program.