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Indiana won a $7M federal grant for early childhood education. Here’s how it will be spent

Preschool students play with beans and dried pasta at a sensory center in a preschool classroom at Day Early Learning at Eastern Star Church. Meghan Mangrum/Chalkbeat

Indiana won a nearly $7 million federal grant to improve its early childhood education system, the state announced Tuesday.

The state will use the one-year grant to improve the quality of early childhood programs and identify gaps in services for low-income families and in rural areas, officials said. The grant will also help the state plan for expanding On My Way Pre-K, its pre-Kindergarten voucher program for 4-year-olds from low-income families, the state said in a news release.

While early learning advocates have called for a statewide pre-K expansion, Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said last month that he thinks the state can reach more children with the $20 million it already spends annually on the program. He suggested increasing pre-K funding in 2021.

Indiana had originally applied for nearly $10 million from the federal program, and it’s unclear why the state was awarded less, said Indiana Family and Social Services Administration spokeswoman Marni Lemons. But she noted that several other states also received smaller grants than what they requested.

The grant has opportunities to apply for additional funding in coming years.

Read more: Indiana seeks $10 million federal grant to find gaps in early childhood education

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