LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) – A northern New Mexico school district has been awarded a federal grant of more than $8 million to expand Head Start programs.

The funding will be awarded over a five-year period to the West Las Vegas district. It will be used to open 10 new Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms.

Officials say Head Start is one of the few early childhood education options available in the community.

Seven of the new classrooms will help the program serve 140 more children under age 5. The other classrooms will expand Early Head Start to 32 more expecting parents and children under age 3.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall says the grant represents a down payment and more needs to be done to fully fund Head Start and other child well-being programs.