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State partners with local providers, school systems to expand high-quality pre-K

8/4/2014, 7:30 a.m.
On Monday, July 28, 2014, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown was joined by the president of the Maryland Board of Education Dr. Charlene Dukes; Baltimore County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dallas Dance; other state and local officials and early childhood education advocates at a press conference to announce $4.3 million in Pre-kindergarten Expansion Grants to 24 providers throughout the state. (Courtesy Photo)

On Monday, July 28, 2014, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown was joined by the president of the Maryland Board of Education Dr. Charlene Dukes; Baltimore County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dallas Dance; other state and local officials and early childhood education advocates at a press conference to announce $4.3 million in Pre-kindergarten Expansion Grants to 24 providers throughout the state. Under the expansion, the state has partnered with local providers and schools systems across the state to expand high-quality full and half-day pre-K to another 1,563 children.

The announcement took place at the White Marsh Child Care Center (WMCCC), one of five programs in Baltimore County that are receiving a total of $770,000 in funds to expand their services under the grant program. WMCCC will receive $112,000 to support an additional 20 four-year-old children. The Center also plans to use these funds towards teacher salaries and technology upgrades in the classroom (including computers) in order to reach families in need of educational services.

The Act of 2014 (SB 332) builds on the state’s existing pre-K system and expands the number of pre-K slots available to include Maryland children whose families make up to 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The bill represents the first step toward expanding pre-K to all Maryland children by establishing a competitive Pre-Kindergarten Expansion Grant Program and Fund through which local school systems and local providers were able apply to establish, expand and enhance existing pre-K programs and highly effective Judy Centers. Recipients were selected by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) following the application process, which began in April.

“This Prekindergarten Expansion Grant builds upon the existing public pre-kindergarten system and moves us even closer to the target goal of providing universal access to high-quality pre-kindergarten for Maryland children of all income levels,” said Dr. Lillian M. Lowery, State Superintendent of Schools.