3,300 Minnesota preschoolers in line for new state program

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — More than 3,300 4-year-olds will attend preschool this upcoming school year as part of Minnesota's new, state-funded preschool program.

Gov. Mark Dayton and his top education official announced 74 school districts and charter schools received funding to offer preschool. The state passed a scaled-back preschool program this year that targets impoverished school districts without existing early education options.

Nearly 60 percent of the districts that applied for the funding were rejected once the Legislature's $25 million dried up. Dayton says that demonstrates the need to expand and provide more funding.

The Democratic governor had originally pushed for a more expansive voluntary program but faced resistance in the Republican-controlled House, eventually securing a $25 million infusion.

Minnesota lawmakers also passed a statewide kindergarten program in 2013.

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