Registration begins for preschool program

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Indianapolis is embarking on a huge shift in education.

Indianapolis Public Schools wants to start offering a free preschool program but the number of spots for students is likely going to be limited, so there's a big emphasis on registering early.

Lisa Simmons started her Saturday at Tech High School hoping to find out more on how her daughter Neah will learn in the near future.

"We're here looking at the early childhood program for our daughter she will be four in August so looking at the preschool options," explained Simmons.

She was one of hundreds of parents looking to take part in the IPS pre-Mk program in the fall. Under outgoing Superintendent Dr. Eugene White's plan, 1400 four-year-olds would be enrolled into free preschool a plan that comes with an $ 6.7 million price tag.

Parent David Todd believes it's an investment in the future of the entire district, "I think it's going to encourage higher reading levels by the third grade so I think it's a way to improve IPS schools."

Even though enrollment went on as planned, last week the school board sent the proposal back to committee to take a look at the feasibility of a long term pre-K program.

IPD spokesperson John Alhardt, explains, "The program will go forward. We want to reassure our community that Dr. White, our new school board totally support preschool. Preschool will happen."

Christopher Nunn with St. Mary's child center says pre-K is a vital component to a child's future scholastic success.

"I think they are spending some time catching up preschool is so important for preparing us for Kindergarten and the years after," says Nunn.

The new board has expressed concern over cost for the financially strapped district as well as concerns about starting too big too fast.

Lisa Feathers ton already works with her 4-year-old but says early education is about more than ABC's and 123's

"I don't want to dumb my son down with just television that they need interaction with other children," she said.

The school board meets on Monday to discuss revising the current plan.

The next enrollment opportunity is coming up Wednesday, January 23, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Tech High School.