Pre-Kindergarten Program Wins Big Grant

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Donisha Greene: (216) 443-7075 or 

Funding to support innovative strategies to expand preschool

CLEVELAND – Cuyahoga County’s pre-kindergarten program has just received a big endorsement from the U.S. Department of Education -- a $374,320 grant to encourage innovative funding strategies to expand preschool and improve outcomes for 3 and 4-year-olds.

“We are thrilled to have won this federal award, which recognizes the success of our pre-school program”, said County Executive Armond Budish. “We recently created a $22 million fund to double the number of children who will have the opportunity to benefit from a high quality pre-kindergarten education. This federal award will enable us to achieve our goal of sustainable long-term funding while saving the taxpayers money.”

The Pay for Success model is an innovative way of partnering using philanthropic and private sector funds to provide resources for service providers to deliver better outcomes—producing the highest return on taxpayer investments. Through Pay for Success, the county government agrees to pay for concrete, measurable outcomes, but taxpayer funds are spent only if those outcomes are achieved.

“This federal grant is a big vote of confidence in our Universal Pre-kindergarten program and the outcomes we have achieved for children at risk”, said Office of Early Childhood Director, Rebekah Dorman. “With this funding we hope to create a pathway to bringing the program to scale."

The Preschool Pay for Success feasibility pilot will advance the understanding of how Pay for Success can be used to expand and improve the quality of preschool programs for low-income and disadvantaged preschoolers. Intended outcomes for students that attend are improved kindergarten readiness, reading and math growth or achievement, and improved social and emotional skills. The pilot will also include an assessment of the design and expansion of an evidence-based preschool program and a cost-benefit analysis showing the return on investment to the community.