Despite hearing from hundreds of parents, teachers, and community leaders about the value of preschool in the last week, House Republicans voted down efforts on Wednesday to continue Iowa’s voluntary preschool program for 20,000 kids statewide.

“Over the last week, hundreds of Iowans have stood up for Iowa’s preschool initiative but Republicans weren’t listening,” said State Representative Cindy Winckler, D-Davenport.  “Preschool is a wise investment for taxpayers, raises student achievement, and strengthens Iowa’s middle class.  In tough times, Iowa families and our kids deserved better tonight.”

House Democrats won approval of a plan to save taxpayers an additional $24 million, but were turned back on other efforts to boost student achievement and maintain Iowa’s commitment to good paying jobs.

“We are at a critical time in our economic recovery and now is not the right time to scale back our efforts to help create good-paying jobs,” said State Representative Roger Thomas of Elkader, who is ranking member of the House Economic Growth Committee. “We shouldn’t turn our backs on small businesses or the renewable energy industry because they are essential to growing our economy over the next decade.”

House File 45 was approved on a party line vote and now goes to the Senate for consideration.  For more information on the bill, log on to www.iowahouse.org/savepreschool.