(Raleigh News Observer) Gov. Bev Perdue will put an additional $20 million into the state preschool program, allowing 6,300 more children to enroll.
About 1,000 children will be able to enroll immediately, her office said Thursday. The rest will find space in classrooms before the end of the year.
A statement from Perdue’s office said she identified $20 million in “projected unspent funds” in the state Department of Health and Human Services budget to pay for the expansion.
While advocates for early childhood education applauded the announcement, a legislative budget writer said Perdue was undermining the legislature’s ability to pay future Medicaid bills. Legislators had to scrape together money this year to plug budget holes in the government health insurance program for the elderly, poor and disabled.
DHHS has not determined precisely which divisions or programs will lose money to N.C. Pre-K, a Perdue spokesman said, but the reductions are not expected to require cuts in health services.
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