AUSTIN – Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced today that 578 school systems across Texas will be awarded more than $116 million in grants as part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s high-quality prekindergarten initiative.
In 2015, Gov. Abbott declared early education a legislative priority. The 84th Texas Legislature went on to pass – and Gov. Abbott signed into law – House Bill 4, which established additional state support for all public school districts and open-enrollment charter schools seeking to expand high-quality prekindergarten programs.
“Implementation of this important grant program, which remains a priority of Gov. Abbott, provides important educational support to our youngest Texans,” said Commissioner Morath. “By working to ensure and expand high quality prekindergarten programs across our state, we take an important step toward ensuring every child is prepared for the classroom from the very first day.”
Following the application period, school systems have been formally notified by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) of the final grant awards. Funding will be used by districts to implement pre-k programs in the 2016-2017 school year.
The high-quality grant program allows districts and charters to receive funding for qualifying prekindergarten students in addition to the half-day Foundation School Program funding that is already received for each eligible prekindergarten student. To receive the grant funding, a district or charter had to meet certain enhanced quality standards related to curriculum, teacher qualifications, academic performance, and family engagement.
House Bill 4 also added new prekindergarten reporting requirements for all public school districts and open-enrollment charter schools. In addition to implementation of the high-quality grant program, the statewide data collection required by House Bill 4 will begin in the 2016-2017 school year.
To learn more about the High-Quality Prekindergarten Grant Program (including a complete list of public school districts and open-enrollment charter schools receiving funds), visit http://tea.texas.gov/Curriculum_and_Instructional_Programs/Special_Student_Populations/Early_Childhood_Education/House_Bill_4_High-Quality_Prekindergarten_Grant_Program/