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Whitmer seeks big boost in Michigan preschool funding

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LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is proposing a big increase in spending to help more 4-year-olds attend preschool.

The Democrat on Tuesday outlined an $85 million, or 35 percent, funding increase for the Great Start Readiness Program. It would increase the income threshold to qualify to 300 percent of the federal poverty level from 250 percent. Children now must live in a household with income under roughly $64,000. The cutoff would be about $77,000 under Whitmer's plan.

Her recommendation also would increase per-child funding for full-day preschool to $8,500 a year, from $7,250. It is distributed to county-level intermediate school districts that administer the program.

Whitmer says high-quality preschool programs have a positive impact on children's emotional and behavioral development and increase the likelihood that they enter kindergarten ready to learn.