With $50M infusion, Minnesota funds more preschool programs and scholarships

Published 8:43 am Monday, August 7, 2017

By Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.

Minnesota will fund preschool and early-learning programs for 3,000 more children than it did in 2016 —but the funding might last only for a few years.

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The state will continue to fund the 74 public preschool programs it did last year but add 59 more, at least through 2019.

On Friday, when announcing the school districts that would get the $50 million one-time cash infusion, Gov. Mark Dayton said he wished the funding could be more —and long term.

As he has before, the announcement of the funded programs was accompanied by a map of districts that received the money —and those that applied but were turned away.

Preschool funding was a major issue during this year’s legislative session as Republican lawmakers and the Democratic governor battled over the best way to help the youngest learners begin their educations.

The final deal funded the existing programs, added some temporary money to boost more school district-based programs and added $20 million to early learning scholarships, which will help defray costs for thousands of families.

The cash will allow the Inver Grove Heights, St. Paul, Anoka-Hennepin, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan and White Bear Lake districts to start or expand their prekindergarten programs, the state announced Friday. Those are among the nearly six dozen districts funded under the money approved this year.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Money coming in

Austin and Lyle school districts are two of 59 school districts statewide to receive one-time funding for school-based prekindergarten and school readiness plus.

Austin  Pre-K students: 54. Funding amount: $341,911
Lyle  Pre-K students: 18. Funding amount: $107,734

Information courtesy Minnesota governor’s office