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Vt. Legislature approves bill requiring schools to offer prescho - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. Legislature approves bill requiring schools to offer preschool

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Preschoolers in Vermont are getting some help from the Vermont Legislature.

The Senate approved a bill requiring school districts to offer preschool to all kids. The House approved it earlier this session and Governor Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont, supports it. Supporters say more students getting access to quality preschool classes will mean more Vermont kids are prepared when they get to kindergarten.

"What we know from the literature is about two-thirds of the gap between children who grow up in poverty and those from more affluent backgrounds is that that gap develops outside of school. And we see pre-K and early intervention, and supports for families quite honestly, as absolutely critical in ensuring every child arrives at school ready to learn," said Vermont Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe.

The bill requires the state to reimburse districts that offer qualified programs and 87 percent of Vermont communities already offer some form of early learning.

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