Lt. Governor Tina Smith today visited the voluntary preKindergarten program at Kennedy Elementary School in Mankato. Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith secured a historic $25 million investment for free, voluntary preKindergarten in 2016. Thanks to this funding, Mankato Public Schools received a $164,000 grant, allowing 32 four-year-olds to attend voluntary preKindergarten for free. Under Governor Dayton’s Opportunity Agenda for a Better Minnesota, Mankato would receive $745,000 during the next two years to continue and expand their preKindergarten program.
“Access to preschool is a proven strategy for closing opportunity gaps and preparing all children for kindergarten and success in school. We can already see the impact of free, voluntary preKindergarten at schools like Kennedy Elementary,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “With a $1.65 billion budget surplus, we have a unique opportunity to provide thousands more Minnesota four-year-olds access to quality early learning programs. I urge the Legislature to put our littlest learners at the top of their priority list this session.”
The Governor’s proposal also includes $4.45 million to help Mankato Public Schools maintain facilities, improve special education, pay staff, and keep class sizes under control.
“Mankato Area Public Schools is proud to host Lt. Governor Tina Smith at Kennedy Elementary as she visits one of our early learning classrooms funded by voluntary preKindergarten dollars,” said Superintendent Sheri Allen. “We will have the opportunity to have a conversation about the model for early learning. With our talented teachers and community partners we will collectively find ways to provide access and equity for our students and families.”