20601A-WFNZ-the-fan-Final2 35h_CBSSportsRad_1660AM

News Home

NC Could Get Up To $70M In Fed Funding For Pre-K

View Comments
(Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images)

(Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images)

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina will get up to $70 million to improve early childhood education after being selected Friday for a federal Race to the Top grant, but Gov. Beverly Perdue says that won’t solve a standoff with legislative Republicans on expanding pre-kindergarten services.

The Obama administration said North Carolina and eight other states will share $500 million. North Carolina applied for $70 million and will learn later exactly how much it will get.

The cash will be used to improve the North Carolina Pre-K program, but Perdue’s office says the money can’t be used to expand the program in line with a state judge’s order that no at-risk 4-year-olds can be turned away.

Getting the money meant North Carolina’s application had to address specific selection criteria that amounted to improving pre-kindergarten quality and services rather than expanding the program’s reach, Perdue spokesman Ben Niolet said.

“This one-time investment will have a long-term benefit for all of North Carolina’s children. However, it cannot be used by the General Assembly to escape their responsibility to fund NC Pre-K,” he said.

A spokesman for House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, declined comment. Spokesmen for Senate president Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, did not respond to requests for comment.

Perdue, a Democrat, is at odds with the Republican-led General Assembly over a judge’s ruling that the state must provide pre-kindergarten education to all at-risk 4-year-olds who are eligible. That’s required by the state constitution, which says every child is entitled to a sound, basic education, Superior Court Judge Howard Manning ruled this summer.

The price tag could mean boosting state spending on the program by more than $300 million annually within four years, according to legislative fiscal analysts.

Perdue wanted lawmakers to appropriate another $30 million to teach another 6,300 preschoolers beginning next month. Perdue called the move a first step toward serving an estimated 67,000 eligible 4-year-olds by mid-2016.

Republican lawmakers have resisted, arguing the state can’t afford such an expansion any time soon. State attorneys are appealing the ruling.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,179 other followers