INDIANAPOLIS (AP/WANE) — Indiana school Superintendent Glenda Ritz is calling on Gov. Mike Pence to seek a preschool grant worth up to $80 million now that the U.S. Education Department has extended the application deadline to Wednesday.
Ritz says Indiana is among only 16 states eligible to apply for the grant worth $20 million over up to four years.
Ritz says the grant is a “once in a decade opportunity for Indiana to invest in a sustainable early childhood infrastructure.”
A message seeking comment was left with the governor’s office.
An internal email obtained by The Indianapolis Star last week said the Pence administration no longer was seeking the grant because of concerns over conditions that accompany federal grants.
Advocates say the grant could help Indiana serve up to 2,000 low-income children.
In response to Ritz’s request, Pence said he stood by his decision:
While I respect the views of those who support applying for federal Pre-k funding, I stand by my decision. Federal funding does not guarantee success. This is not about the money, it’s about our children and we have an obligation to get it right. Our administration will remain focused on the successful launch of the five county Pre-k pilot program approved by the Indiana General Assembly earlier this year.