Fed’s decision on state pre-K grant to have minimal impact

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While Texas was not selected to receive a $120 million federal grant to expand pre-kindergarten offerings throughout the state, Dallas Independent School District programs will not be negatively impacted.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded 18 states nearly $226 million on Dec. 10 to grow their preschool programs. Texas had requested $120 million, but concerns about aspects of its application led federal officials to select other states. However, the lack of additional grant funds will not prevent the district from expanding its pre-K offerings, which serve more than 9,700 students.

“Yesterday’s decision by the federal government will not slow down the momentum we have been making here in Dallas to improve quality and expand access for our pre-K program,” said Alan Cohen, executive director of early childhood. “At Texas’ upcoming legislative session, it will still be fully within the control of our policymakers to fund full day pre-K for all eligible students.  If Texas is serious about making a statewide commitment to quality early education, this should be a no brainer.”

Superintendent Mike Miles has said the district wants to increase pre-K spending by $45 million by 2020. The district currently receives between $30 million and $35 million from the state annually for pre-K. Dallas-area programs receive about $4.2 million for Early Head Start programs through child care partners.

Dallas ISD pre-K registrations have increased by 1,000 from the same period a year ago.

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