Hurricane recovery money to fund pre-kindergarten

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Hurricane recovery money will pay for nearly half the cost of Louisiana's 4-year-old pre-kindergarten program.

Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will shift $33 million in federal Community Development Block Grant money into the LA 4 program in the budget year beginning July 1, the Advocate reports.

The total budget for the program, which served 16,000 students, is $76 million.

Legislative budget leaders expressed surprise that the money, meant to help the state rebuild from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, would be shifted into the program. However, the program had relied on $44 million federal stimulus funding in the budget year ending June 30. That money won't be available again next year.

Christina Stephens, Division of Administration spokeswoman, said some children served by LA 4 live in areas affected by hurricanes.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)