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Report: Many states, including Colorado, increase preschool funding

When it comes to trends in state preschool funding, Colorado runs with the pack. It was one of 28 states (and the District of Columbia) to increase preschool funding from 2013-14 to this year, according to a new report published by the Denver-based Education Commission of the States.

Colorado’s 3.2 percent bump in funding for the Colorado Preschool Program is modest compared to expansions in California (79 percent) and Michigan (37 percent). Both states spent at least double what Colorado does even before their double-digit increases.

Still, Colorado’s $82.6 million preschool outlay is larger than in some states that posted big spending gains. For example, South Carolina increased preschool funding by 51 percent this year, but still spends a few million less annually than Colorado.

Bucking national trends around expanding publicly-funded preschool, several states decreased funding this year, including Tennessee, Florida, Maine, Nevada and Oklahoma. In addition, a half-dozen mostly western states don’t provide any public funds for preschool. These include Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and New Hampshire.

Along with side-by-side comparisons of states’ preschool spending, the report highlights the bipartisan appeal of publicly-funded preschool. Of the 44 states with such programs, 25 have Republican governors and 19 have Democratic governors.

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