The application process for the new Voluntary Pre-K program has begun with a deadline of July 1. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) just released the application and details on the program that focuses on helping rural schools. MDE will notify successful applicants by Aug. 1. View the program application and Q&A.
MREA and MDE also have updated the Program Impact Estimator Tool to help you see how this Voluntary Pre-K program would work financially for your school district over the next two years. View an example.
Webinars Begin This Week
MDE will host three webinars to share more information about this program with two of them conducted this week:
Focus on Rural
The Legislature approved $25 million in new state funds to this new program this past session with 43 percent allocated to rural (non-metro) school districts and charters.
The funds are expected to cover only about 6 percent of four year olds. Priority will be given to applicants based on the concentration of kindergarten students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches by school site on October 1 of the previous school year and the absence of a three- or four-star Parent Aware rated child care and Head Start program within the school district or close proximity of the district.
MDE has released a ranking of rural school sites for eligibility in this new program. See where you rank. This is a site by site ranking. School districts with more than one elementary may have a highly ranked elementary site and others less highly ranked. Districts apply for Voluntary Pre-K site by site.