Mayor Peduto creates education panel to compete for funding

Mayor Peduto creates education panel to compete for funding

By Cristina Holtzer / News Editor

The federal government may grant Pennsylvania $20 million in education funding due to plans from Mayor Bill Peduto’s office..

Peduto announced Monday the creation of a Blue Ribbon Panel on Early Childhood Education, a specialized task force of 20 local education professionals who will work toward winning the nationwide Preschool Development Grants competition, which is a federal program that will grant $250 million to preschool education nationwide for the fiscal year 2014 , according to a release. 

While the panel’s main goal is to win the “competitive grants from the White House,” it will also work to support early childhood education generally, according to Peduto’s spokesman Tim McNulty. 

Pennsylvania is eligible to win up to $20 million from the competition if they satisfy requirements such as implementing “state-level infrastructure and quality improvements” and setting up childcare learning services from birth through third grade, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

“Pittsburgh must keep developing as a city of learning — a city committed to exemplary education of its citizens from birth to career and from career to lifelong learning — and providing early childhood education is essential to that development,” Peduto said in the release.

McNulty was not able to provide specifics on what the panel will do aside from planning ways to improve Pittsburgh preschools and working to win the competition. The panel will also determine “the best application that the city can put forward” to address the needs of preschool students. 

Another city-based education initiative =is The Pittsburgh Promise — a foundation that gives privately funded college scholarships for students who complete their entire education at Pittsburgh Public Schools. Although the city does not fund The Pittsburgh Promise, McNulty said Peduto’s office regards The Pittsburgh Promise as a way to help students at the “back end” of education. Winning $20 million in grants will enable Peduto’s office to provide a similar service for early childhood education. 

“Now he’s looking at something special that Pittsburgh can provide on the front end of education,” McNulty said.

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