Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Four-year-olds across Michigan are settling into their pre-school routine, with many programs starting up this week.

Some 16,000 of these kids might not have been able to find spots in a high-quality program if it weren’t for a major expansion, paid for by taxpayers.

At Golightly Education Center in Detroit, Principal Sherrell Hobbs, dressed in an ivory suit and matching four-inch high heels, was on her hands and knees, taping a “red carpet” to the tile floor.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Update: The state House has passed the proposed School Aid budget, including the $65 million increase for early education. 

The annual legislative brawl over how to spend the state's money is expected to come to a close this week in Lansing. The budgets currently under consideration include many changes. One of the biggest is a nearly 60 percent increase in the state's funding for early education.

The governor initially proposed a $65 million increase for the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) in his budget. The proposal went back and forth as it made its way through the legislature this year, but it's now looking like the governor will get his way. 

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Clarification: We've updated the story to make the funding comparisons more clear.

Governor Snyder covered lots of ground in his State of the State speech last week. As we pointed out on our blog last week, he listed off a number of priorities he wants addressed this year – everything from fixing the state’s crumbling infrastructure to reforming no-fault auto insurance to pumping more money into early childhood education. But not all priorities, it seems, are created equal.

When it comes to modernizing the state's ailing infrastructure, Snyder called for more than $10 billion dollars in new taxes and fees over the next decade. He called it the "toughest single issue" of 2013, but something that must be done.