ALBUQUERQUE (AP) – New Mexico officials say investments are paying off when it comes to early childhood education, but more work needs to be done.

Federal statistics released this week show less than 40 percent of 4-year-olds are enrolled in publicly funded pre-kindergarten programs in New Mexico.

While that’s in line with the national average, dozens of states have even lower percentages, including neighboring Arizona and Colorado.

New Mexico has been working for the past decade to boost pre-K programs, and the budget that was recently approved by lawmakers includes nearly $25 million to expand pre-K across the state.

Public Education Department spokeswoman Ellen Hur says New Mexico has tripled its investment in public pre-K since 2011. That has resulted in the number of enrolled 4-year-olds increasing by nearly 150 percent.