NEWPORT, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton is taking his pitch to fund statewide preschool on the road.

The former teacher stopped at a preschool classroom in Newport Friday to make his case. He says his voluntary pre-kindergarten program will prepare more children for success.

Republicans have suggested giving a big chunk of the state's $1.87 billion surplus back to taxpayers. But Dayton thinks Minnesotans, especially parents, would much rather invest that money in children. He says universal preschool will help close the state's achievement gaps.

Teachers and administrators at Newport Elementary School say children who attend preschool are often more comfortable and ready to learn in kindergarten than those who don't.

The Democratic governor says offering more scholarships to low-income children is also a worthy idea.