KY to receive $36 million grant to get children ready for Kindergarten

Money Cash (Source: Pixabay)
(Source: Pixabay)

(KBSI) – Kentucky will receive a nearly $36 million grant from the federal government to support families and the state’s economy by ensuring more children are ready for Kindergarten.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear made that announcement Thursday.

“My administration will always put education first, and that starts with our youngest students, so they have the strong start in school and life that they deserve,” Gov. Beshear said. “This is an investment in our kids and also in our future workforce and economy. It’s personal to me as a dad, because I want all of our kids to have the best opportunities possible right here.”

When a young child enters kindergarten ready for school, there is an 82% chance that child will master basic skills by age 11 compared with a 45% chance for children who are not school ready, according to Gov. Beshear’s office.

The Office of Early Childhood Development Preschool Development Birth through Five (PDG B-5) grant will provide Kentucky with $11.9 million each year over a three-year period.

The funds will help the commonwealth develop and expand early learning programs; build an early childhood education workforce talent pipeline and expand access to high quality education for children most in need.

The $36 million federal award will build on a $10.6 million PDG B-5 grant to Kentucky in 2019.

Since the original award in 2019, Kentucky has advanced the goals outlined in the grant’s strategic plan.

This year, Team Kentucky’s budget request of $125.9 million won legislative approval and fully funds full-day kindergarten for the children of the commonwealth.

For the next two years, Gov. Beshear has allotted $1.4 million for the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood. The state will invest $6 million in the state’s Regional Collaborative Network and $1.4 million annually.

Gov. Beshear also proposed an Education First Plan to be considered during the upcoming 2023 legislative session.

The Governor’s plan aims to address student learning loss brought on by the pandemic. It also aims to address years of denied pay raises that have contributed to the state’s nearly 11,000 public school teacher vacancies, by providing funding for a 5% pay raise for school staff, universal pre-K, textbooks, technology and training, teacher student loan forgiveness and social and mental health services.

The governor also asks lawmakers to consider restoring new teacher pensions.

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