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Kentucky Education Officials Eye Grant to Expand Early Childhood Learning

State education officials are looking to expand preschool services to Kentucky families.The Kentucky Department of Education is working with the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood to craft an application for a grant that will bolster previously awarded Race to the Top funding. If awarded the grant the state will be focus the funds on expanding preschool services to areas of low and moderate income, Said Tommy Floyd, the education department's chief of staff.Kentucky is among 35 states that qualify for the expansion grants, saidFloyd.  But only a few of the 35 states will be selected to participate in the $160 million expansion grant program.Floyd said the process of applying for the grant is in the very early stages--so there is not much detail as to what the application will highlight-- and the level of competition among states wishing to participate is high.“Based on our initial review, I think we are in a great position to make a run at it,” he added.Terry Tolan, the director of the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood, said the goal of the grant is to expand “high quality preschool programs.”“Those are to be both public and private programs,” Tolan added.The grant would be valid for four years and participating states would receive between $10-$35 million, according to the U.S. Department of Education.The grants are set to be awarded in December.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.