Visiting a preschool class at the Walnut Street School, Governor Chet Culver today announced the names of 53 school districts in Iowa receiving state funds under the statewide voluntary preschool program for 4-year-old children. This announcement will provide an estimated 3,247 additional children in the state a quality preschool experience during the upcoming school year.
"As Governor, I am committed to giving Iowa's children every opportunity for success, and that begins with a quality early-childhood education," said Governor Culver. "I am proud to announce these 53 new awardees which, when combined with the 119 existing awarded districts across the state, will mean that next year nearly 13,000 children will receive a quality preschool education next year. Today's announcement is one more step in our early-childhood education efforts, and I look forward to working with all Iowans as together we give our children the solid foundation for a brighter future."
The statewide voluntary preschool program for 4-year-old children was established on May 10, 2007 when the Governor signed House File 877. The purpose of the statewide preschool program is to expand the opportunity for Iowa's young children to access quality preschool environments and enter school ready to learn. The program is helping the state move toward its goal of 90 percent participation of Iowa's 4-year-olds in quality preschool programming supported by state and federal funds by 2011.
It is projected that, during the 2009-2010 school year, a total of 12,923 4-year-old children will be served by the preschool program at 172 school districts across the state. Governor Culver made the announcement at a preschool class in Des Moines Public Schools, one of the first school districts to participate in the program when it began in 2007.
"These programs are an investment in Iowa's future," State Board of Education Chairman Rosie Hussey said. "Long-term studies show that adults who experienced high-quality early childhood programs have greater educational attainment, home ownership and employment. I congratulate these new awardees for giving Iowa's 4-year-old children a step toward their future success."
School districts applied for a competitive state grant to provide at least 10 hours a week of quality preschool instruction through collaborative community partnerships. A total of 125 school districts applied for the grant this year. The Iowa Department of Education selected the school districts to receive funding based on House File 877 priorities and considerations, which include current availability of preschool programming in a district, collaborative efforts of community early childhood partners, poverty and district size.
The amount of funding that each district receives will be based on the amount requested in the application. The selected districts will not need to reapply next school year. After the first year, the program will receive state funding based on the number of students in the program. Certified enrollment counts are taken in the fall.
The selected districts are:
Graettinger, Terril (Consortium)
Jefferson-Scranton, East Greene, Paton-Churdan (Consortium)
Red Oak, Stanton (Consortium)
For more information, please visit the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program for Four-Year-Old Children webpage.