Baldwin to Walker: Bring in Federal Dollars for Early Childhood Education
For the City-Times
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today sent a letter Governor Scott Walker encouraging him to apply for federal, early childhood education investments in Wisconsin schools.
Wisconsin is one of 36 states that has been invited by the Obama Administration to apply for a share of $250 million in Preschool Development Expansion Grants directed to help states develop and expand high-quality preschool programs for low- and moderate-income children. The Badger State is eligible for up to $15 million dollars a year in funding for a period of four years.
The Walker Administration did not apply for the funds by the Sept. 11 deadline, which would have notified the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of Wisconsin’s intention to apply for a federal grant. The federal funding would allow some Wisconsin school districts to expand 4-year-old kindergarten to full-day kindergarten and reduce the costs to local school district budgets.
The full text of the letter can be found here and below:
The Honorable Scott Walker
Governor of Wisconsin
115 E. Capitol
Madison, WI 53703
Dear Governor Walker:
As you know, Wisconsin has a proud tradition as a national leader in early education. Today, the state is nearing universal 4K with over 90 percent of school districts offering kindergarten for four-year-olds. However, I am concerned that you are not taking advantage of federal funding available to further strengthen Wisconsin’s early education programs.
On August 18, 2014, the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services notified the state of Wisconsin that it is one of 36 states eligible to apply for federal funding through the Preschool Development Expansion Grant. The Preschool Development Expansion Grant will award selected states with up to $15 million a year for a period of 4 years. This grant will be awarded to states that have successfully implemented and sustained High-Quality Preschool Programs that serve vulnerable children in high needs communities.
I was deeply concerned to learn that our state missed the September 11, 2014, deadline to notify the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services of the state’s intention to apply for this grant leaving millions of dollars in federal money on the table that can be used to grow our preschool programs. The final deadline to apply for the grant is October 15, 2014.
I have been a strong supporter of this program in the Senate and I would urge your administration to apply to give our state the chance to compete for funding, which could strengthen preschool programs for thousands of children across our state.
It is of the utmost importance that we give all children in Wisconsin an equal opportunity to obtain an outstanding education. This promise begins with a strong investment in early-childhood opportunities.