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New Mexico putting $3.5M more in early pre-K program

SANTA FE, N.M. — Gov. Susana Martinez on Friday announced an additional $3.5 million investment in New Mexico’s early pre-K pilot program, bringing the total investment to more than $10.5 million over the past two years.

“In New Mexico, we’re committed to giving our kids a head start in their education because, no matter their background, every child can learn,” Martinez said. “Expanding our investment in this important program helps us ensure that more of our kids start school prepared to learn.”

Secretary Monique Jacobson of the Children, Youth, and Families Department said the state has more than doubled the number of 3-year-olds who have access to the program in New Mexico.

Pre-K has been growing in New Mexico since 2006. Originally, it targeted 4-year-olds, “but last year (we) wanted to expand it to early pre-K for 3-year-olds,” Jacobson said. “The Kids Count Data book regularly asks what percentage of 3- and 4-year-olds are enrolled in pre-K? That is a measure for child well being. We did well with our 4-year-olds, so last year we started to get 3-year-olds, as well.”

The new money, Jacobson said, will allow us to grow the program around the state. CYFD has issued a request for proposals from child care centers and pre-K providers.

With the new funding, Jacobson said, “we will be able to fund 29 child care centers in 10 counties to serve an additional 534 children – bringing the total number of 3-year-olds in early pre-K to 1,000.”

Jacobson said the administration “recognizes how critical it is to focus on children in their early years so we can set them up for a successful future.”