APRIL 23, 2004 - Posted at 7:15 a.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Legislators say they want to spend an available $40 million on preschool programs in school districts with the highest poverty rates and the worst test scores.
The extra money was approved earlier this year during a special session on education reforms. The money will allow the state to serve 7,000 additional children this fall.
In the special legislative session, some legislators balked at paying for preschool programs because they are not required by the state constitution. Experts urged them to spend the money anyway, saying preschool education is the best way to ensure that children do not fall behind and that they succeed.