PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island has been awarded a three-year, $27 million federal grant to develop its preschool programs, Gov. Gina Raimondo said Tuesday.
The money will support statewide children's development and education initiatives through 2022, as part of the Administration for Children and Families' preschool development grant program.
In her proposed $10.2 billion state budget released last week, the Democratic governor allocated $4.5 million to pay for an additional 750 public pre-kindergarten slots, for a total of 2,170 slots. Some of the grant funding, about $3 million, will supplement the state investment, Raimondo said.
Raimondo said she's proud of the state's commitment to "giving the next generation a strong start," but more needs to be done. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the General Assembly to expand public pre-K and ensure that every child has the opportunity to learn and grow," she said in a statement.
The grant money will also be spent on family support programs, resources for young families, professional development for early childhood professionals, improvements to data systems for early childhood programs and a public awareness campaign about accessing early childhood resources. Raimondo launched the campaign, calling it the “Rhode Island Way,” on Tuesday.
The award renews a one-year, $4.2 million grant the state received in 2019 to support planning activities for improving the early childhood system.