The Oregon Department of Education Early Learning Division notified the Lincoln County School District that they will be awarded a total of $222,750 in the initial round of funding of Preschool Promise grants which were part of the Student Investment Account application process. These funds will allow the District to offer 18 slots in their early childhood learning programs to families who are within 200% of the Federal Poverty level for this upcoming school year. This is less than the original grant request, but it will go far to help several families in need of support and quality education for their children.
Lauren Sigman, Early Learning Coordinator, helped to prepare the grant request and oversees the Early Learning Programs for the school district, "We were hoping to receive all 48 slots we applied for, as we know there is a major shortage of preschool and child care in our County, and a need to provide these services free or at minimal cost to working families. We are excited to be able to receive the 18 slots this year and next year so that we can begin serving families and children who will benefit from having access to free preschool in our programs."
Lincoln County School District applied for the Oregon Department of Education’s Preschool Promise grant which provides funding to child care providers so the providers are able to offer free Preschool slots to families who are at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty line. Initially, the District applied for 48 slots which would have allowed the District to offer 12 spots at each of our four district-run Preschool programs (Lincoln City, Newport, Toledo, and Waldport).
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect, it will have on the state's revenue stream the Oregon Early Learning Division delayed the award of the grants from June 4th to July 2nd and will release them in tiers of funding over the next two years. LCSD was awarded $222,750 to provide 18 full-time preschool slots for the 20-21 school year and was selected as a priority for funding an additional 18 slots next school year. (Tier 2 funds will depend on the state's revenue forecast and if there is funding available.)
With the 18 slots awarded LCSD will be able to serve 4-5 children in each of its four sites and plans to work closely with the Early Childhood Special Education program to provide a fully inclusive high-quality preschool program. The funding will be used to pay for staff, supplies, curriculum, and other program operating costs which are usually funded using the income from tuition charged to families. Having this funding will allow us to continue to operate a high-quality early learning program without having to charge families who qualify for free tuition.
The slots will be awarded through a coordinated enrollment process led by the Linn Benton Lincoln Early Learning Hub. This process is still being developed and will be communicated on the LCSD website as it becomes available. Families who are interested in applying or have questions should contact Lauren Sigman, Early Learning Coordinator by calling 541-270-2456 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Early Learning section of the District website can be found here: https://lincoln.k12.or.us/academics/early-learning/
The Oregon Early Learning Division is currently working on updating its child care guidelines to help to ensure the health and safety of children and staff in early learning settings. These new guidelines will be released in mid-August and will be followed to structure the LCSD program for the upcoming school year.