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Pre-kindergarten in District 191 gets boost from state

New state funding for voluntary pre-kindergarten programs will boost plans already underway in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 as Vision One91 is launched for the 2016-17 school year.

“The timing is perfect,” said Cindy Check, coordinator of District 191 Community Education early childhood programs. “We developed a high-quality pre-kindergarten program as part of Vision One91, so we are now poised to expand what we offer.”

District 191 is one of 74 school districts in Minnesota selected to receive new state funding to expand voluntary pre-kindergarten opportunities for four-year-olds at no cost to families.

The expansion of pre-kindergarten programs to some elementary schools was already planned as part of Vision One91, the work to redesign the district to meet the needs of today’s learners. With the new funding of $827,481, half-day pre-kindergarten programs will expand at Hidden Valley Elementary in Savage and at Rahn Elementary School in Eagan. New programs will include a half-day program at Sky Oaks Elementary in Burnsville and a full-day program at Diamondhead Education Center.

Families that have already registered will learn that they no longer have to pay. New openings will be added, but probably not enough to fill the need so a lottery may take place.

“The state had been steadily working toward this as a priority and deepening the understanding that early childhood learning has tremendous value,” said Tom Umhoefer, community education director. “We’re thrilled to receive this new funding to greatly benefit our young learners.”

“Preschool programming is a key component of preparing children to be successful in school,” said Check. “Through our play-based program, we will now have more four-year-olds developing the skills they need to be fully ready for formal schooling.”

She said another benefit is that more families will have access to a well-rounded pre-kindergarten experience at their neighborhood school, and begin to build relationships in their school community.

For more information about early childhood programs in District 191, go to www.isd191.org/earlylearning.

For more information about state funding for pre-kindergarten, read the news release from the Governor’s office: https://mn.gov/governor/newsroom/#/detail/appId/1/id/251633

Posted: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 - 16:28