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Charitable foundations chart course for early education

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico state lawmakers are getting a preview of a business plan for expanding early childhood education across the state that was developed by a group of major charitable foundations.

The plan seeks to expand state spending by $16 million each year to gradually expand and improve the workforce for prekindergarten, childcare and home visits with families in infants.

An outline was presented Wednesday to members of the Legislative Finance Committee who draft the state budget.

The plan calls for a new cabinet-level position in state government or early childhood “czar,” and would provide publicly funded kindergarten to 80 percent of 4-year-olds.

Behind the investment project is the New Mexico Early Childhood Funders Group that consists of the Thornburg Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation and others.

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