Lawmakers have earmarked $850,000 for a tuition-charging University of Mississippi preschool as they struggled to find money to expand other preschools statewide.
The Clarion Ledger reports the Willie Price Learning Lab got the money between 2016 and 2019.
Gov. Phil Bryant criticized the spending in 2017, but it has continued.
The money spent was enough to fund about 100 matching grants for free, public preschool in each of those four years.
Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison, an Oxford Republican, says the school instructs future teachers and spreads good ideas.
Ole Miss spokesman Rod Guajardo says the money helped achieve and maintain accreditation from the National Association for Education of Young Children.
Prekindergarten programs at five Mississippi public colleges have that accreditation. Willie Price is the only one getting earmarks.