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3,300 kids in Minnesota will enroll in free, voluntary pre-K programs this year

September 9, 2016
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Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith were joined by Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius in August to announce that beginning this fall, 3,302 fouryear olds in 74 Minnesota school districts and charter schools will attend voluntary pre-kindergarten, free of charge. These programs will save families thousands of dollars, while preparing Minnesota’s youngest learners for success in school and life. With this pre-kindergarten investment, just over one-fifth of all Minnesota school districts will provide free, voluntary pre-kindergarten for four-year-olds in their communities.

Minnesota’s pre-kindergarten expansion was made possible by a new $25 million investment secured this session by Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith. But additional state funding is needed to ensure all Minnesota four-year-olds gain access to free, voluntary pre-kindergarten. In total, 183 school districts and charter schools applied for pre-kindergarten funding this year. But due to a lack of funding, nearly 60 percent of those districts did not receive state aid. Had additional state funding been available, 10,139 children in those 183 districts and charter schools that applied would have been enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs this year.