PreK funding on the way for school district

By Per Peterson

The Tracy Area School District is among Minnesota’s public and charter schools that will receive state funding for school-based preKindergarten and School Readiness Plus.
District 2904, which will have an estimated 10 PreK children this year, will receive $36,072 in state aid on top of the $5,681 levy amount for a total of $41,753 for FY18 and FY19.
“I didn’t know exactly how much we would be getting; you always hope for more, but I’m very happy with what we received,” said TAHS Supt. Chad Anderson.
Anderson said the formula for the distribution of state aid is a complicated one and is dependent upon many factors, such as how many students are in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) and whether or not a school receives Pathway II funding, which the school district does receive.
The Minnesota Department of Education on Friday released a list of 59 school districts and charter schools that will receive new preK funding. Gov. Mark Dayton said Friday that state funding will help 22,5000 students across the state attend early-learning programs this year.
Dayton’s office said since becoming governor in 2011, Dayton has invested $2 billion in E-12 education, including $257 million in early learning.
“With new preK programs and Early Learning Scholarships, over 22,500 young learners will get the great starts they need this school year to succeed in school and life,” Dayton said in a news release. “I thank the many legislators who supported these investments to combat our state’s persistent achievement gaps. However, I regret that with a $1.65 billion surplus, the Legislature would not provide the funding needed to ensure all Minnesota four-year-olds have access to these crucial learning opportunities.”