Access to the state preschool program continued to shrink in fiscal year 2011, putting the state even further off track from its original plans to serve all 3- and 4-year-olds by this year.
Cuts in fiscal year 2010 previously caused the program to lose 7,400 spots – about 8 percent of its total enrollment. The following year, the state preschool program lost an additional 4,000 spots, despite flat funding. (Because most salary and administration costs increase from one year to the next, flat funding generally results in declining enrollment for preschool programs.)
All told, Illinois now has just 29,000 more preschool seats than the state did in 2001-02, before the Preschool for All program was started, according to an annual report released Tuesday morning by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.