The bill is one of Governor Martin O'Malley's biggest bills this session. It would offer pre-K to almost 1,600 more children in the state.
"There are a lot of places that already have it. It's important I think to get it statewide. This is like a pilot program to start. It'll be competitive. You'll have to apply to get a program in your county," said Sen. George Edwards, (R) -Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties.
The fiscal 2015 budget includes $4.3 million for this expansion.
"This helps get that program started an loosens up some funding to help the locals get it started, but they have to apply and be qualified and get approved to get into the program," Edwards said.
Edwards, who's co-sponsoring the bill, says it could help Western Maryland students thrive.
"I don't think every place in Western Maryland has pre-K, so the ones that don't will be able to apply for the program," Edwards said. "If they get it, it will help them start their program and give them funding to start their program so they don't have to tap all their local funding to do it."
The House bill has passed in the Maryland House of Delegates, and the Senate bill passed in the Maryland Senate. Both bills now head to the opposite chamber. You can read the bill by clicking here.
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