WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King today announced that the Maine Department of Education will receive a four-year, $14.8 million federal grant that will allow 13 school districts in the state to create or expand on existing preschool programs.
“Early childhood education is an investment in Maine’s future,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “We are thrilled the Department of Education has recognized Maine’s efforts to move toward universal voluntary pre-K, and know these funds will substantially increase the availability and impact of preschool programs across our state.”
Maine is one of just 18 states receiving a competitive award through the new Preschool Development Grants Program, a joint initiative from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Thirty six states applied for this inaugural round of Preschool Development Grants. The awards nationwide total more than $226 million. Maine will receive $3,497,319 in the first year of the grant.
The Preschool Development Grants Program supports state efforts to create or enhance preschool programs in high-need communities, while building or improving infrastructure to better deliver preschool services. President Obama announced the initiative in August of 2014. Grant awards are divided into two principal categories: development and expansion. Development grants are awarded to states with small or no state-funded preschool programs. States with more robust preschool programs are awarded expansion grants. Maine is one of 13 states receiving an expansion grant.