October 20, 2014
State Schools Chief Torlakson, State Board President Kirst Announce California Applies for $140 Million Early Childhood Education Grant
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and State Board of Education President Michael W. Kirst have announced that California has submitted an application for the U.S. Department of Education Preschool Expansion Grant.
"I am excited at this tremendous opportunity that could give many more children the early learning experience that serves as a happy, healthy foundation on which to grow and learn," Torlakson said. "Expanding access to preschool helps our young children throughout school and later in life."
"Our goal is to support high-quality preschool and build upon the $250 million investment California provided in the June budget for preschool expansion," said Kirst. "These grant funds will be directed locally to help meet the needs of low-income four year olds, especially those with disabilities."
The grant could provide California with $140 million—$35 million per year over a four-year period—to support the development of high-quality state preschool programs. This funding would provide for more than 3,700 new and improved preschool spaces for low-income and special needs children.
California's application especially emphasizes inclusive preschools: high-quality programs and supports for children, including those with diverse needs such as children with individual education programs, English learners, and migrant children.
Through this effort, California seeks to build and support a culture and community of inclusion from the earliest point possible for children.
California's application was developed by a close working partnership involving the California Department of Education (Early Education and Support and Special Education Divisions), First 5 California, and the State Board of Education. If funded, the work would be carried out by specifically selected regional subgrantees that include local preschool agencies. California's continued success working with and funding Regional Consortia as part of its regionally based Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) implementation provided the knowledge, capacity, and partnerships to engage in a rigorous subgrantee selection process.
Generous support for the development of California's Preschool Expansion Grant was received from the Annenberg, David and Lucile Packard, and Heising-Simons Foundations. These contributions build on their earlier critical investments supporting the development of strong early education systems in California.
California may well be competing with nearly two dozen other states who have submitted a notice of intent to apply for a portion of the expansion grants. A decision is expected by the end of the year.
For additional information, please visit the U.S. Department of Education's
Preschool Development Grants [Note: the preceding link is no longer valid.]
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100