Boise Democratic Rep. Hy Kloc is getting some Republican backing in his attempt to launch a pre-kindergarten pilot bill.
Rep. Douglas Hancey, R-Rexburg, has signed on to the bill, which would create five pre-K pilot schools around Idaho. The pilots would be publicly and privately funded, and would run for three years.
Hancey, like Kloc, is a first-term lawmaker. The retired car dealer has been active in education issues in his community and involved in fund-raising for local school projects. In an interview, he said he believes pre-K can help young students develop academically and socially.
“I think the benefits are not just in education but in self-confidence,” he said.
For years, many of Hancey’s fellow Republicans have resisted proposals to create voluntary pre-K programs. They have questioned whether the state can assume the costs for another year of education, and have suggested that young children are best taught at home.
Kloc’s proposal has also garnered support from another Republican, Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney. He is expected to attend a news conference Monday morning to unveil the pilot bill.
“One of the things we know about preventing people from committing crime is a pre-school education,” Raney told KIVI-TV’s Mike Sharp earlier this week. “Early child education is critical to that.”