Pre-K funding could expand under Missouri budget proposal

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Increased funding for public education is expected to be a boon to early childhood programs in Missouri.

Extra money is available because Republican lawmakers passed a bill to fully fund the school finance formula for the first time in recent memory. That full funding triggered a 2014 law that allows districts to receive money for pre-K.

The program could cost more than $62 million if all districts take advantage. Educators say that likely won’t happen in the first year.

Republicans say it’s a monumental step for education. But some educators and lawmakers question the future effect of the program.

Some lawmakers have proposed phasing in the funding to make sure the money is available. Others worry that the increased cost could put a strain on already depleted state revenues.