State to Invest More Than $35 M in Pre-k Programs Across Maryland

The state has awarded 53 public and private Pre-K programs with grants to expand access to more families; and launched a new prekindergarten capacity-building grant opportunity.

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) announced opportunities for three grant programs that will collectively provide more than $35 million to prekindergarten programs across the state. The three opportunities are the Prekindergarten Expansion Grant, the Maryland State Prekindergarten Grant, and the Prekindergarten Capacity Building Grant.

Through the Prekindergarten Expansion Grant and the Maryland State Prekindergarten Grant, MSDE has awarded 53 public and private prekindergarten programs a total of $28 million in funding.

MSDE has also launched a new Prekindergarten Capacity Building Grant. This opportunity is a competitive grant program designed to provide funding for targeted technical assistance, resources, and support for new and/or existing programs.

The Prekindergarten Expansion Grant & The Maryland State Prekindergarten Grant

  • Through the Prekindergarten Expansion Grant and the Maryland State Prekindergarten Grant, a total of 13 local education agencies (LEAs) received funding for one or more additional prekindergarten classrooms.
  • 40 private providers, including child care centers, family child care homes, Head Start, and other programs across the state, have been awarded grant funds.
  • Collectively, the private and public prekindergarten programs will create 2,731 new prekindergarten seats and will provide three and four-year-old children from low-income families access to full-day prekindergarten.
  • Funds for these grants were made possible by the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which enables the State to expand high-quality prekindergarten, provide technical assistance, and ensure family support services are accessible in many high-need communities.

According to an MSDE press release:

These grant funds allow school systems and early care and education programs to increase the length of the school day from a half day to a full day, fund highly qualified and certified early childhood teachers in each classroom, and serve more children who otherwise would not have access to early childhood education necessary for success in school and life.

Prekindergarten Capacity Building Grant

  • MSDE launched the Prekindergarten Capacity Building Grant on July 27, 2023.
  • The grant is a one-year, one-time competitive grant that provides additional seats for eligible three- and four-year-olds across the state.
  • The grant also provides a pathway for LEAs and private providers to become eligible to apply for either the Maryland State Prekindergarten Grant or the Prekindergarten Expansion Grant for the following school year.
  • The Prekindergarten Capacity Building Grant is leveraging one-time American Rescue Plan Act funds to support a pipeline of high-quality prekindergarten programs that are ready to receive State funding.

The MSDE press release noted that:

As part of the grant, recipients will receive targeted technical assistance as well as support with accessing additional teacher credentials and State-approved teacher certification to support high-quality instruction. In addition, MSDE’s Division of Early Childhood staff, partnered with staff from Maryland EXCELS, will support the grantees to reach a quality rating of at least 3 or 4. This will enable each grantee to be ready to receive either the Prekindergarten Expansion Grant or the Maryland State Prekindergarten Grant in fiscal year 2025.

The Prekindergarten Capacity Building Grant Information Guide, Frequently Asked Questions, and other information about the grant program, including customer service support sessions, can be found on the MSDE Division of Early Childhood Grant Programs webpage

Read the full press release.

The 2023 MACo Summer Conference general session, Embracing Without Spacing: Pre-K Expansion and Early Childhood Education,” will examine the capital challenges and opportunities of Pre-K expansion, including facility space and funding.
The 2023 MACo Summer Conference will be held at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD, from August 16-19. This year’s theme is “Where the Rubber Meets the Road” More information can be found on our conference website.