Bartholomew County has been named one of 18 finalists for a five-county prekindergarten pilot funded by the state.
The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration examined more than a dozen measures of suitability, including the estimated number of children not currently receiving early learning services, the number of eligible providers and the percentage of children living in poverty.
Kathy Oren, executive director of the Community Education Coalition, said the news confirms what she already knew.
"This is a huge opportunity to serve more students," she said. "I believe our chances are strong to be chosen."
The pilot program will provide about 1,500 half- or full-day vouchers statewide for children to attend a qualified program — whether it be a public school, or private or parochial provider.
The scholarships would be worth between $2,500 and $6,800 per student and eligible families can make up to 127 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $30,000 a year for a family of four.
For more on this story, see Thursday's Republic.