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For Immediate Release
July 15, 2005

State Board of Education awards Early Childhood Block Grants to schools and community programs
Governor’s continued commitment to Early Childhood results
in 102 programs receiving first-time funding

Springfield, Ill. – The Illinois State Board of Education has awarded $30 million in 102 new Early Childhood Block Grants to schools and Early Childhood Education providers in Illinois. Governor Blagojevich has increased Early Childhood Education funding by $30 million in each of the last three years, resulting in a $90 million increase, bringing the Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 funding level to $273.2 million. The FY 2006 funding increase will provide new support to 102 programs bringing the number of state-supported Early Childhood programs in Illinois to 964.

“The Governor’s commitment to Early Childhood Education is changing children’s lives for the better,” said State Board of Education Chairman Jesse Ruiz. “As a result of the Governor’s work, thousands of Illinois kids now have access to quality pre-school programs that will give them a great start on becoming successful lifelong learners and high achievers in life.”

Today’s announcements follow the State Board’s successful outreach efforts this Spring when Gov. Blagojevich called on the State Board to raise awareness about the state funding available for Early Childhood Education program support and to develop long-term strategies to overcome barriers to pre-school access for Latino children.

In response to the Governor’s call for action, the State Board, led by Chairman Jesse Ruiz, hosted a series of meetings with Latino community leaders to raise awareness of the availability of state pre-school funding. The State Board partnered with the Ounce of Prevention Fund, Illinois Department of Human Services and Action for Children to support community groups in the funding application process. Programs receiving first-time funding in FY 2006 include school and community programs in Cicero, Elgin, Berwyn and Aurora.

“I am delighted to work with Chairman Ruiz in delivering these services to the children of Cicero and Berwyn,” said Senator Martin Sandoval, (D-Cicero).

Illinois’ Early Childhood Program (ECBG) Program is targeted to reach at-risk children from birth to age five. Targeted populations include children from households with low parental education or children in poverty. Children are identified for enrollment based on individual screening and assessment.

ECBG includes four initiatives. The largest is the Pre-Kindergarten Program for Children at Risk of Academic Failure. The other three initiatives are Model Early Childhood Parental Training (birth to three years), Model Early Childhood Parental Training (three to five), and Prevention Initiative for Programs Offering Coordinated Services to At Risk Children and Their Families (birth to three).

“These grants show that Illinois is going the extra mile to serve underserved families,” said Harriet Meyer, President of The Ounce of Prevention Fund. “Less than 36 percent of Latino 3- and four-year-olds are in preschool, compared to 55 percent of white children and 61 percent of African American children. If we are committed to providing equal opportunity and closing the achievement gap, expanding access to quality early learning is clearly part of the solution.”

The FY 2006 funding includes increases of:

  • $16.9 million additional funding for downstate preschool programs;
  • $11.1 million additional funding for Chicago Public Schools;
  • $1 million for educational programs that will serve more children birth to three years of age; and
  • $1 million to preserve preschool programs in downstate districts that have cut local preschool funding.

Investments in early childhood education pay enormous dividends in the long-term. Based on certain economic returns like increased earning potential, decreased dependency on social services and on the justice system, it is estimated that society receives $7.14 for every $1 spent on early childcare programs. That means the $90 million Governor Blagojevich has invested over the last two years will yield $643 million in savings over the lifetime of those children.

Research shows that the sooner children have access to a quality educational environment, the better their long-term learning achievements will be. At-risk children who received high-quality early education are 20 percent more likely to complete high school and 41 percent less likely to be placed in special education. In addition, at-risk children who received high-quality early education are 42 percent less likely to be arrested as a juvenile for a violent offense, and will have half as many criminal arrests and higher earnings and property wealth as an adult.

Illinois’ commitment to early childhood education and its program quality continue to receive national recognition. A national report, Leadership Matters: Governor’s FY 2006 Pre-K Proposals, praised Gov. Rod Blagojevich for his continued commitment to expanding pre-school access in Illinois. The report described Governor Blagojevich as a “Pre-K budget hero” for his push for pre-school expansion despite difficult financial conditions. Fueled by the Governor’s strong commitment to high-quality pre-school programs, Illinois was recognized by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) as having one of the strongest state-run, early childhood programs in the nation. Illinois received praise for its financial commitment and its program quality. Illinois is one of only 13 states to require certification for its early childhood teachers.

The 102 programs receiving new grant funding this year are:

Birth to Three Funding:
School District or Program Name
Program Grant Award
Christian, Montgomery ROE #10 Prevention Initiative $30,000
The Children's Center of Cicero, Berwyn, Inc. Parental Training Birth to Three $297,300
Oblong Community Unit School District #4 Parental Training Birth to Three $25,925
Family Focus, Inc. Prevention Initiative $140,000
Macon, Piatt ROE #39 Prevention Initiative $211,467
Havana CUSD #126 Prevention Initiative $83,900
St. Clair ROE #50 Prevention Initiative $100,000
Fairfield Public School District #112 Prevention Initiative $139,995
Will County Health Department Prevention Initiative $101,236
Pre-Kindergarten Funding:
School District or Program Name
Grant Award
Liberty CUSD #2 $57,984
Brown County CUSD #1 $120,000
Princeton Elementary District #115 $60,000
Champaign County Regional Planning Commission $60,000
Clay, Crawford, Jasper, Lawrence, Richland ROE #12 $238,981
Siblings & Co., Inc. $105,378
Mattoon Community School District #2 $180,000
Action For Children $480,000
Clyde Park District of Cicero and Through a Child's Eyes $2,400,000
Community Consolidated School District #59-Arlington Heights $250,708
Evanston CCSD #65 $157,752
Jolly Fun House Playschool West $60,000
Lee's Child Care Center, Inc. $120,000
Lola's Learning Center, Inc. $60,000
Mannheim School District #83 $120,000
Morton College $60,000
North Palos Elementary District 117 $118,504
Prairie Hills Elementary School District #144 $220,360
Puerta Abierta Preschool-Evanston $120,000
Schaumburg School District #54 $280,000
The Children's House Park Forest, Inc. $120,000
Tiny Town of Lansing $54,000
West Harvey/Dixmoor School District #147 $120,000
Somonauk CUSD #432 $56,000
Glen Ellyn School District #41 $60,000
Wood Dale SD #7 $120,000
Brownstown CUSD #201 $60,000
Wabash Area Development, Inc. $120,000
Minooka CCSD #201 $120,000
Step by Step Child Care Center, Inc. $120,000
Hamilton, Jefferson ROE #25 $116,382
Wethersfield CUSD #230 $120,000
Murphysboro CUSD #186 $480,000
Rend Lake College $60,000
Aurora East School District #131 $911,762
Aurora West School District #129 $240,000
Community Unit School District #303-St. Charles $60,000
School District U-46 $721,353
Bourbonnais Elementary School District #53 $60,000
Gurnee School District #56 $60,000
Hawthorn School District #73 $119,993
Kids Hope United-Busy Bee Children's Center $60,000
North Shore School District #112 $120,000
Waukegan CUSD #60 $1,140,000
LaSalle Elementary School District #122 $73,511
Ottawa Elementary Schools District #141 $60,000
Streator Elementary School District #44 $60,000
Richland Community College $180,000
Sangamon Valley CUSD #9 $45,369
Girard Community Unit District #3 $70,714
Mt. Olive CUSD #5 $42,000
Edwardsville Community School District #7 $224,577
Granite City Community Unit School District #9 $120,000
Madison CUSD #12 $69,622
Step by Step, Inc. (Alton) $60,000
Illini Central CUSD #189 $60,000
Consolidated School District # 158 $106,200
Woodstock CUSD #200 $120,000
Bloomington Public School District #87 $120,000
McLean County Unit District #5 $100,000
Jacksonville School District 117 $120,000
Our Redeemer Day Care Center, Inc. $120,000
Rochelle Community Consolidated District #231 $118,091
Jesu Children's Enrichment Center-Catholic Charities $60,000
Peoria Heights CUSD #325 $180,000
Peoria Public Schools District #150 $360,000
Rogy's Gingerbread House, Inc. $120,000
East Richland CUSD #1 $59,770
Kid Zone $112,000
Riverdale CUSD #100 $56,191
Rock Island County ROE #49 $480,000
Riverton CUSD #14 $108,080
Tri-City Community Unit School District #1 $60,000
Blair House Early Childhood Center $53,207
Central School District #104 $105,615
Dupo CUSD #196 $120,000
Jack and Jill Child Development Center $60,000
Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House $60,000
Pontiac/William Holiday #105 $120,000
Signal Hill School District #181 $104,000
Toddle Town, Inc. $60,000
Bradford CUSD #1 $60,000
Carroll-Jo Daviess-Stephenson ROE #8 $57,000
Southern Seven Health Department/Jonesboro $60,000
Henderson, Mercer, Warren ROE #27 $275,000
Morrison Community Unit District #6 $60,000
Joliet Public Schools District #86 $240,000
Plainfield CCSD #202 $120,000
Carterville CUSD #5 $480,000
Keith Country Day School $60,000
Kinnikinnick CCSD # 131 $116,835
Rockford School District #205 $120,000

A listing of the 862 programs that received support in FY 2005 and will continue to receive Early Childhood Education funding in FY 2006 can be found at:


Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777