KEYC - Lt. Gov. Smith Visits Mankato, Talks Free Voluntary Pre-K

Lt. Gov. Smith Visits Mankato, Talks Free Voluntary Pre-K

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MANKATO, Minn. -

Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith joined Mankato School leaders, staff and students to make a push for Governor Dayton's plan to fund free voluntary pre–k.

Smith spent time in the classroom with students enrolled in Kennedy Elementary's voluntary pre–kindergarten program.

In 2016, the school received $163,000. That of more than $25 million spent across the state for a handful of schools fund free pre–k.

Smith talked with school officials and teachers about the benefits these programs can provide for kindergarten readiness and some of the successes and obstacles a district can face. 

This session, Governor Dayton's budget includes $175–million that would allow every school district to provide free pre–k.

The GOP–controlled House and Senate oppose the plan.

Lt. Governor Tina Smith (DFL-Minnesota), said, "We think that in a time when we have a budget surplus of over $1.5 billion that we ought to be able to find the resources that every child gets the kind of start that they need if that's what their families want. This is all voluntary."

In the governor's budget, Mankato Area Public Schools would receive $375,000 to support voluntary pre–k.

It's in addition to $4.45 million Dayton's plan allocates to the district to support special education, staff and other needs.

--KEYC News 12