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Area school districts get pre-kindergarten funds

Several area school districts will receive state money to offer free pre-kindergarten, either with one-time new money or continued funding.

The Duluth school district will get about $100,000 in new money to serve another 20 kids this year, and will also get more than $220,000 as part of the state’s continued funding efforts, which will serve 60 kids, the state estimates.

While Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton had proposed an additional $175 million to expand voluntary pre-kindergarten, the Legislature agreed to $50 million in one-time new funding for pre-kindergarten or school readiness programs. Last year, $25 million in ongoing funds was invested.

More than 220 Minnesota school districts and charter schools applied for money to serve 243 voluntary pre-kindergarten programs and 84 school readiness sites, which would have served more than 12,000 4-year-olds. Of that, 59 school districts received the new money to serve another 3,000 kids.

Along with Duluth, the St. Louis County and Nashwauk-Keewatin school districts received new money.

Area districts that applied for the new funding but didn’t receive it include Carlton, Eveleth-Gilbert, Grand Rapids, Hermantown, Proctor, Hibbing, Lake Superior, Moose Lake and Virginia school districts.

Districts that will receive money as part of the ongoing funding efforts include Cook County, Floodwood, Grand Rapids, Greenway, Mesabi East and St. Louis County school districts.

Another 16,400 kids throughout the state received early learning scholarships.