HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett has announced that Pennsylvania is eligible and will apply for up to $52.5 million through the federal Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant program.
“As part of the state’s overall education system, high-quality early education programs can improve student school readiness and achievement,” Corbett said. “Pennsylvania is a national leader in providing early education opportunities for our youngest citizens and this grant will help us further improve and expand our quality programs.”
In anticipation of the grant, the governor directed the departments of Education and Public Welfare to work with the early learning community to write the state’s grant application.
“It is important that this grant application be guided by the comments and suggestions of local educators who work with our children every day and not dictated by Harrisburg,” Corbett said.
A staunch supporter of early childhood education, the 2013-14 state budget recently signed into law by Governor Corbett increased funding for Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Assistance by $6.4 million, which will serve an additional 950 students in the current school year.
The budget also included an additional $6.8 million for Early Intervention; an additional $6.5 million for Keystone STARS; and$9.3 million for the child care subsidy program. These funds will be used to provide services to more Pennsylvania children as well as to increase program quality.
The grant application will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in mid-October, and award announcements are expected in December.