Governor Steve Bullock and Superintendent Denise Juneau announced that Montana has been awarded a $10 million-a-year federal Preschool Development grant from the U.S. Department of Education to increase capacity and expand access to high-quality early childhood education in sixteen communities throughout the state.

The grant provides support for school districts in these communities to improve professional and program development, including scholarships for early childhood educators, building Montana’s early childhood workforce to ensure they’re able to meet the accreditation and licensure standards recently approved by the Montana Board of Public Education. Additionally, grant funds will be used to expand access to publicly funded, high-quality early childhood educational programs in these communities.

The communities included in this grant are:

·         Great Falls
·         Hardin
·         Lewistown
·         Helena
·         Bozeman
·         Wolf Point
·         Browning
·         Anaconda
·         Crow Agency
·         Libby
·         Kalispell
·         Butte
·         Box Elder
·         Lame Deer
·         Rocky Boy
·         Pablo/Ronan

The grant complements Bullock’s Early Edge initiative, which aims to make voluntary, publicly funded, high-quality early childhood education for four-year-olds available throughout Montana. In his budget, Bullock requested $37 million to fund the initiative.