The governor is adding his voice to business and education leaders calling for an expansion of Alabama's small pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds.
Gov. Robert Bentley says he wants to expand pre-K education and considers it more important than the Alabama Reading Initiative.
Bentley's comments to a Birmingham business group came less than a week after the State Board of Education called for an extra $5 million next year. A coalition of business leaders, educators and children's advocates is pushing for an even bigger increase.
The program currently receives $19 million in state funding and serves 6 percent of Alabama's 4-year-olds, or about 3,900 children.
State Senate budget committee Chairman Trip Pittman says officials are looking at where money can be shifted around to expand the voluntary program.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.