$70 million in new funding for pre-k education approved by the Legislature last session will provide a boost to the state's early education programs. It's the latest in several years' worth of increased early education spending during Gov. Mark Dayton's term.
Some of the money is specifically for low-income students and students deemed at-risk for other reasons. Other funds provide free preschool for any 4-year-old, regardless of family income.
But this will leave districts to figure out how to make expansions happen, while dealing with a lack of space in school buildings.
Districts get the new state funds at the end of the school year based on how many preschoolers they served, so they need to have space for new students before they get the money.
More than a hundred districts and charter schools that applied for funding this year did not receive it. Dayton pushed for a larger preschool investment of $175 million but ultimately had to compromise with Republican legislative leaders.
The new money for school-based preschool is set to expire in June 2019.