CREATED Apr. 29, 2013
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- When it comes to our youngest kids, the state of Nevada just isn't spending enough.
That's according to a report released on Monday by the National Institute for Early Education out of Rutgers University. The report finds that states are spending less on pre-kindergarten programs than they were a decade ago.
The troubled economy plays a role in decreased funding, but some Las Vegas area parents were shocked to find out how few children are taking part in preschool programs.
The report found that only 1.7% of children in Nevada who are preschool age, are actually enrolled in preschool. Compare that to Florida, where 39.8% of their preschool aged kids are enrolled.
The report looked at the 40 states that have some sort of state funding for preschool and Florida ranks number one on the list when it comes to pre-kindergarten access. Nevada ranks 36th.
The Clark County School District says that it does operate such programs at a number of its Title I schools and it supports an increase in funding.
CCSD Board of Trustees President Carolyn Edwards says she can't stress how important preschool learning is. She says numerous studies have shown that that kind of learning before kindergarten helps kids become better readers. And with Governor Brian Sandoval's goal to increase literacy in students by third grade, she says she can really see a need for more kids to attend preschool.
But the report goes on to say that Nevada is one of several states that is spending less than it used to a decade ago on preschool programs. During the 2011-2012 school year, Nevada spent $2,592 on each child enrolled in preschool. That's about half of what it spent in 2013.
Jalee Arnone, who runs Ms. Jalee's Daring Dragonflies preschool in North Las Vegas, says it's important for kids to attend school before kindergarten to foster the socialization and cognitive thinking skills they need.
The new report says that part of the reason for the decreased spending are the lingering effects of the economic downturn in 2008, coupled with the end of the federal stimulus dollars to plug state budgets.
View The State of Preschool 2012 Report here: