US Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici Congratulates Clatsop County on $350,000 Federal Grant for High-Quality Preschool
BEAVERTON, OR [12/22/16] — Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) announced that Clatsop County was awarded a $350,000 two-year grant through the U.S. Department of Education’s Preschool Development Grants Preschool Pay for Success program. This program helps communities develop innovative, cost-effective plans to increase access to high-quality early childhood education. Clatsop County is one of eight grant recipients across the country.
“Young children benefit tremendously from high-quality preschool, but too often these programs are out of reach for low-income families, especially in rural areas,” said Congresswoman Bonamici. “I’m very proud that Clatsop and Tillamook Counties will have this opportunity to explore ways to improve access to high-quality preschool in Northwest Oregon. Their work will help chart a new course for delivering affordable, high-quality pre-kindergarten programs in towns and cities across America. Students, families, and communities reap profound long-term benefits, including higher high school graduation rates, when children are able to gain the social and educational skills they need to enter kindergarten ready to learn.”
“The preschool feasibility grant will allow us to plan for how best to provide free preschool to up to 600 children in Clatsop and Tillamook counties,” said Dan Gaffney of Clatsop Kinder Ready. “We will reach out to parents, current preschool providers, elementary schools, local healthcare providers, and others to determine how best to engage children and their families in high-quality preschool. The program will be for children in low-income families and those who are learning English as a second language. Being rural counties we recognize the need for higher wages for Pre-K teachers, ongoing professional development, and transportation to help make sure children can attend preschool. This funding is a great opportunity to address the needs of our communities and enhance early childhood education on the Oregon coast.”
Bonamici served on the select panel of House and Senate members that crafted the final version of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and successfully advocated for the Preschool Development Grant program to be included in the new law. Bonamici also cosponsored the Strong Start for America’s Children Act to expand access to pre-kindergarten programs for low-income families.