Arizona Preschool Development Grant May Loose Funding
In 2014, Arizona received a federal grant from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services for preschool development. There were five states who received these development grants, and Arizona received the largest amount at $20 million every year for four years. However, the 2016 federal budget does not allocate money for the continuation of these grants.
“When we applied for this grant, we thought about things like that. How would this be sustained should the money go away at some point,” said Nicol Russell, deputy associate superintendent of Early Childhood with the Arizona Department of Education.
“And so when we worked the program we let them know from the beginning, this is not a forever thing, this was about serving the number of children we could when we had that funding, and that’s the best we can do,” said Russell.
When Arizona was given this grant in 2014, only 3 percent of low-income 4-year-olds were attending quality programs said Russell.
The Department of Education has used that money to give over 2,000 scholarships to low-income families so their 4-year-olds can attend quality preschool and development programs said Russell.
In addition, money was given to start and expand preschool programs across the state.