image courtesy MD Department of Education website

The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood Education says it has awarded 50 grants valued at 26.6 million dollars aimed at serving four year olds in high quality Pre-Kindergarten classrooms across the state.

19 school systems including nearly all districts on the Eastern Shore will receive the funding, as well as 31 community-based Head Start programs. State officials say the grant is particularly aimed at providing full-day Pre-K to low-income families starting in the 2019-2020 school year.

The funding was made possible via House Bill 1415 passed during the 2018 legislative session. According to the state, the funds will allow local schools to have the resources to increase the length of the school day from a half-day to a full-day.

Locally, Caroline County will receive 1.4 million dollars, Dorchester County will get 1.4 million dollars, Somerset County will receive 200,000 dollars, 850,000 dollars will go to Talbot County and Wicomico County will receive 2 million dollars. In comparison to more densely populated counties like Howard County and Baltimore County, the Eastern Shore counties received substantial funding. Worcester County was not included in the grant funding.

Governor Hogan remarked “Early learning programs provide a strong educational foundation four our state’s youngest learners.” He continued “These grants are a much-needed investment in Maryland’s future generation and will allow for increased access to these programs for youth across the state.”