All-day kindergarten a cost saver for Minn. parents

New funding will allow Minnesota school districts to offer free all-day kindergarten Minnesota starting in 2014.

Jessica Bohlinger enrolled her son in half-day kindergarten in the Wayzata district this year, because the all-day option cost $3,700.

"Cost was the only factor. I work part-time. So it was cheaper," Bohlinger said.

But by the time Bohlinger's 3-year-old daughter starts kindergarten in a few years, all-day kindergarten will be free. That's because of a $134 million boost in this year's K-12 funding bill.

Northfield superintendent Chris Richardson said that means his district will stop charging $3,300 a year for all-day kindergarten in 2014. "This will allow us to move to a free volunteer all-day program for every student," Richardson said.

The bill also provides an additional $40 million for early childhood education scholarships so more parents can afford to send their children to quality pre-K programs.

Education officials hope that helps improve the academic performance of low-income students.

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