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New All-Day Kindergarten Funds Will Be Put to Use in Local Area [AUDIO]

Kindergarten Class
Jeff Swensen – Getty Images

ST. CLOUD — Area schools will soon get additional funding to help pay for all-day kindergarten programs.

A DFL-endorsed education bill was signed by Governor Mark Dayton Wednesday. The state will spend an extra $485 million on schools, beginning this Fall.

St. Cloud Area School District Superintendent Bruce Watkins says the district will see an increase of revenue by about $350,000.

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The new bill also adds to the per-pupil formula that determines the amount of state aid schools get. The new revenue will eliminate the fee-based system schools were offering.

Like District 742, the Sauk Rapids – Rice school district is already offering such services. Superintendent Dan Bittman says the new funding will put all kids on a level playing field.

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Bittman says the district will see about $315,000 in new funding.

The additional money is providing some relief to schools. Bittman says he hopes to maintain current funding and staffing levels. However, they will look to work with parents on a possible hiring of additional staff.

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All-day kindergarten programs are created for a variety of reasons. Watkins says they started all-day kindergarten to prepare kids for 1st grade and overall school readiness.

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