Gov. Pritzker Continues Smart Start Tour with Visit to Erie Neighborhood House in Chicago

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

Governor JB Pritzker joined local and community leaders as well as childcare providers and parents at the Erie Neighborhood House in Chicago to continue his ‘Smart Start’ statewide tour. The multi-year Smart Start Illinois plan will provide every child with access to preschool, increase funding to childcare providers to raise wages and quality, invest in new expanded early childhood facilities, and reach more vulnerable families with early support. Research shows that focusing dollars on our youngest children yields a higher high school graduation rate, a higher college attendance rate, greater lifetime earnings, lower healthcare costs, lower crime rates, and an overall reduction in the need for human services spending. The $250 million investment in FY24 includes:

• $75 million additional for the Early Childhood Block Grant to put Illinois on a path to creating more than 20,000 new Pre-K spots for every child who wants one

• $130 million for nation-leading Childcare Workforce Compensation Contracts that will stabilize providers and give childcare workers a raise

In addition to Smart Start investments, other investments being made in the early childhood education include: 

• $100 million in capital dollars for early childhood providers to expand existing facilities and build new facilities 

• $1.6 million to launch the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, a statewide literacy initiative to send free books to children from birth-through age five

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

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