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Over 200 Rochester Families Benefit from Early Learning Scholarships

July 31, 2014

Governor Dayton highlights impact of early learning scholarships in Rochester
ROCHESTER, MN – More than 200 Rochester families have benefitted from new Early Learning Scholarships funded by Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature. Governor Dayton visited an early learning program at Northrup Elementary School in Rochester this morning to meet with some of the students benefitting from this new initiative, and to highlight the impact these scholarships are making in preparing Minnesota’s youngest learners for success in school and life.
Thanks to nearly $49 million in new funding provided by the Governor and Minnesota Legislature during the last two legislative sessions, over 9,000 young learners across Minnesota will receive scholarships to attend high-quality early learning programs this year alone.
“These scholarships are giving thousands of kids across Minnesota the opportunities they need to prepare for Kindergarten, and succeed in school,” said Governor Dayton. “Making these wise investments in our youngest learners will pay huge dividends for our students and our state in the years to come.”
Families interested in Early Learning Scholarships can apply by contacting their regional administrator through Child Care Resource and Referral at 1-888-450-2773. Families can also find a 4-star high quality rated program on the Parent Aware website at, and work with program staff to apply.
Early Learning Programs Are Working
In 2010, only 60 percent of Minnesota students were coming to Kindergarten ready to learn. But after new investments in early learning programs and scholarships, that number improved to 73 percent in 2013. Early learning investments are not only improving school readiness, they are expected to deliver an impressive return on our state’s investment. According to researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, every dollar invested in high-quality early learning programs delivers a $16 return on our investment.
$12 Million for Rochester Public Schools
Over the last four years, Governor Dayton has invested $895 million in E-12 education, and paid back all the $2.8 billion that was previously borrowed from Minnesota school districts. From providing free all-day Kindergarten for all Minnesota students, to funding thousands of early learning scholarships, to increasing funding for every public school district in the state, these new investments are having an impact across Minnesota. In fact, over the last two legislative sessions alone, budgets signed into law by Governor Dayton have increased funding for Rochester Public Schools by $12 million. 

PHOTO: Governor Dayton visits with students enrolled in an early learning program at Northrup Elementary School in Rochester, Minnesota. [Link]