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News

For Immediate Release
August 1, 2003

State Board of Education Announces Early Childhood Block Grants

The Illinois State Board of Education today announced the names of the more than 100 organizations and centers receiving a total of nearly $30 million in new grant funds. The grants were awarded to 130 child care centers, community- based organizations, social services agencies, and education entities including local school districts, regional offices of education and two and four-year colleges and universities across the state.

“These programs provide children with opportunities to jumpstart their learning experiences,” State Superintendent of Education Robert Schiller said. “The grant money funds educational programs for students and parents which is a critical element in establishing lifelong learning.”

The Early Childhood Block Grant is a competitive grant program that combines three early childhood initiatives, the Pre-kindergarten Program for Children at Risk of Academic Failure, Parent Training, and the Prevention Initiative. Funds from the grant are used to emphasize the relationship among early childhood education, parent education and involvement, and future success in school.

The 130 programs will be funded for the 2003-04 school year. This is in addition to the 476 programs currently funded with Early Childhood Block Grant funds of $184 million. The General Assembly, and Gov. Blagojevich recently signed, the appropriation of $30 million in new funds aimed at helping an additional 8,000 at-risk three- and four-year-olds currently on a waiting list for pre-school programs. The increase is the first step in a three-year plan to make preschool available to every one of the approximately 25,000 three and four year-olds in Illinois who are at risk of falling behind when they enter school.

Eligible applicants include public school districts, university laboratory schools, charter schools, area vocational centers, and other entities such as child care providers and community-based organizations.

The Early Childhood Block Grant Recipients List can be accessed at http://www.isbe.net/news/2003/ec_block_grant_recipient.pdf.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777