State funds pre-K for 3,300 four-year-olds across Minnesota
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Thanks to the efforts of legislators like Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin) and his Senate colleagues – 3,300 four-year-olds will have a better opportunity to succeed in school this fall. This week Governor Dayton announced the schools receiving pre-K funding from the $25 million investment passed this session. Both of Sen. Hoffman’s school districts are receiving funds; the grant size and the number of students served are listed below:
|District:||Number of students served:||Pre-K funding grant:|
“I am so proud of the work we did this year – thanks to this investment thousands more Minnesota children will have a better path to success. The only thing that makes this moment bittersweet – is knowing that if additional funding had been available – we could have made this opportunity available to the 10,139 kids whose districts applied for funding, but were denied. Nevertheless, this is an important step forward for Minnesota – and I am committed to working to ensuring that ALL Minnesota kids have access to high quality pre-K programs in the future,” said Sen. Hoffman.
Anoka-Hennepin School District plans on spending its grant funding to target pre-K at two of its elementary schools with the highest poverty rates.
“We’ve had some success in closing the achievement gap over the past few years by using school readiness dollars to pay for pre-K programming. We’re experiencing around 90 percent of students who go through our pre-K program as ready for kindergarten – and these are high-risk kids. With this newest round of grant funding, we are hoping to build on that success and see more of our kids become ready for kindergarten – and succeed throughout their academic careers,” said Steve Kerr, Executive Director of Community and Government Relations at Anoka-Hennepin School District.
“Expanding access to pre-kindergarten has been one of our school district’s goals for several years. This state-funded option will dramatically accelerate our work, allowing more than 200 additional students to experience high quality pre-kindergarten programming. It will also help those students be prepared for kindergarten and on track to read at grade level by grade three – which are two of the state’s World’s Best Workforce goals,” said Dr. Kate Maquire, superintendent of Osseo Area Schools.
According to the Department of Education, 183 school districts and charter schools applied for pre-kindergarten funding this year. Due to lack of funds available, nearly 60 percent of those districts did not receive state aid.
For years, Minnesota has faced persistent achievement gaps. Studies have shown that early learning programs have impressive and long-lasting benefits for low-income students, including increased high school graduation and employment rates, and decreased incarceration rates. Leading researchers and economists have found that these outcomes yield long-term benefits of as much as $16 for every $1 invested in early learning programs.
Sen. Hoffman can be reached at Sen.John.Hoffman@senate.mn or by calling his office at (651) 296-4154.