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State funding expands public pre-K for more than 500 Maine children

Preschool Child Care Costs
Elaine Thompson
AP file
In this photo taken Feb. 12, 2016, Daniel O'Donnell, left, looks on as William Hayden sends large blocks flying at the Creative Kids Learning Center, a school that focuses on pre-kindergarten for 4- and 5-year-olds, in Seattle.

Fourteen school districts in Maine will add or expand public pre-K programs this fall using new funding from the state.

The roughly $3 million in grants comes from the Mills administration's Jobs & Recovery Plan, passed by the state Legislature last year and allocating nearly $1 billion in federal money.

The new grants will allow schools in Greenville, Kittery, Appleton and Yarmouth to create pre-K programs. Several other schools will expand existing programs.

The state says the new money will expand access to pre-K for more than 500 children. About 5,500 kids are enrolled in public pre-K across the state.

Another set of pre-K grants from the state will be offered later this year.