New Mexico plans to spend about $31 million in new money over the coming year to expand early childhood education programs.
That brings the state's annual spending for such programs to about $197 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/177spEW) that the state's early childhood education spending has increased nearly 44 percent in the past two years.
The new money for the upcoming fiscal year includes about $21 million in budget increases for state agencies administering the programs.
Another $10 million is from the state's tobacco settlement funds transferred through legislation designed to boost the state's early childhood education efforts.
Critics say $31 million of new money is a drop in the bucket for what they consider New Mexico's education needs.