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Report: More Maine Families Enrolling Kids in Pre-School Programs

LEWISTON, Maine - A new report indicates that more Maine families are taking advantage of new public pre-kindergarten programs.

The report, from the business-led education lobbying group Educate Maine, found that 36 percent of Maine's 4-year-olds were enrolled in public pre-schools, which is more than double the number from a decade ago.

Educate Maine Executive Director Ed Cervone says the increasing number comes from legislation in 2014 that mandates districts provide public pre-K programs by the 2017-2018 school year.

The next step, he says, is for officials and lawmakers to work on improving the achievement gap between low- and high-income students, which he says starts at a young age.

"That is the investment strategy, in terms of getting these educators going in the right direction," Cervone says."

In total, 45 percent of Maine's 3- and 4-year-olds are enrolled in public or private pre-K. That's still below the averages both nationally and across New England.