The U.S. Department of Education announced Wednesday that Mississippi has missed out on its share of $250 million in federal money to expand its fledgling prekindergarten program.

The state applied for the money in October, asking as much as $60 million over four years to boost a state-paid preschool program for 4-year-olds. Mississippi has spent $3 million a year in each of the last two years.

State Superintendent Carey Wright was not immediately available for comment. Wright is a strong proponent of expanding early childhood education so children will be better prepared for school. Recent results have shown most Mississippi kindergartners enter that grade unready for school.

Every state that borders Mississippi — Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee were among the 18 states that won part of the grant money. A total of 36 states applied.

Mississippi also did not receive funds in earlier rounds of grants, although it applied in 2011 and 2013.

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