Alabama will award nearly $7.3 million in grants to increase the number of children enrolled in its pre-kindergarten programs.
Gov. Robert Bentley announced the grant recipients Wednesday. The spending is part of a $9.4 million funding increase approved by the state Legislature.
Bentley had earlier sought an additional $12.5 million in state funding for the program in Alabama's education budget, though lawmakers ultimately approved less money.
The Republican governor said in a statement that children deserve the opportunity to excel. He called the grants a "wise investment."
State officials are trying to increase enrollment in Alabama's pre-kindergarten program. Only 6 percent of the state's 4-year-olds are enrolled.
The grant funding will be divided among 93 sites across the state.