Tippecanoe Co. not picked for program to help low-income students

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – Tippecanoe County was not selected as one of the five counties to receive assistance to prepare low-income children for kindergarten.

In June, Tippecanoe County was named as one of 18 finalists for the pre-K pilot program.

“Right now 45 percent of children in our community are showing up at kindergarten and they’re being assessed as not quite ready to succeed,” United Way CEO James Taylor said.

Tuesday, the county was notified it was not selected to receive assistance to help fund programs for low-income children at private, public and community-based early education providers.

Taylor said the state did not say why the county was not chosen. Taylor said the county faced two challenges during the application process. Those challenges were guaranteeing room for a growing capacity and providing a local match for funding.

“The challenge that we had there was that those dollars were already committed to local endeavors and the state was asking that matching dollars be sent to family social services administration as part of the voucher funding,” Taylor said.

Regardless of the decision, Taylor said opportunities to work with the state are still open.

“We’re pleased with the response from the state in the sense of their recognition that we’re already doing,” Taylor said. “There was the openness to saying there may be opportunities in the future and they seem to be very open to what Tippecanoe County is doing.”

Taylor said local programs like Read to Succeed and Kindergarten Countdown Camp are just a few things being done to help jump-start the learning process.

“Give them the opportunity for a bit of a camp to get some of the skills in place to make it more successful. We know that is making a difference. It’s not the same as preschool, so we’ve got to find ways to go beyond that,” Taylor said.

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