AUGUSTA — The Maine House has given final approval to a bill designed to boost the number of public preschool programs in the state.

The measure endorsed Tuesday directs the Department of Education to use $4 million it receives in casino and slot machine revenues to cover districts’ startup costs for the programs for 4-year-olds.

Democrats say about 60 percent of Maine’s 172 districts with elementary schools offer some kind of pre-kindergarten.

The original measure sought to set up a process to expand pre-kindergarten programs to every school in the state. But the education department said that districts can’t afford to do that and that the decision should be left up to local officials.

The bill faces a final Senate vote before being sent to Gov. Paul LePage.

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