About $46 million in public money has been pumped into the Montana preschool landscape since 2015. With the rejection of a pair of preschool bills at the Montana legislature this week, that spigot appears poised to run dry — leaving programs that added about 1,500 high quality slots grappling with shortfalls.

Hardin and Great Falls could be trying to patch $500,000 holes. Lockwood could be scaling its preschool program back to an every-other-day lite model only two years after adding two full-time classrooms. A private provider in Shepherd could cut more than half of the high quality preschool hours it offers.