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NC House Panel Considers Pre-K Changes Again

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(Photo by Ulrich Baumgarten via Getty Images)

(Photo by Ulrich Baumgarten via Getty Images)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/CBS Charlotte) — North Carolina legislators are once again talking about which children should qualify for North Carolina’s free preschool initiative for at-risk 4-year-olds.

A House health committee scheduled debate Tuesday on a measure that would in part require families to make less income than is currently required to participate in the North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten program.

The debate comes at a time when states across the country are severely underfunding pre-school programs.

Eligibility is now capped at incomes at 75 percent of state median income, or roughly twice the federal poverty rate. The measure would reduce it to the poverty rate, which is about $19,500 for a family of three.

Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget would cap eligibility at 130 percent of poverty, while expanding the number of program slots.

The legislature cut pre-K funding by 20 percent two years ago. Lawmakers have been successfully sued to block other restrictions.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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