|For Immediate Release|
|Friday, January 19, 1996|
121 Massachusetts Communities Receive State Department of Education
Malden - State Commissioner of Education Robert V. Antonucci has announced that the Department of Education awarded $10 million in new contracts this month ranging in value up to $672,300, to support work in 121 Massachusetts cities and towns for preschool care and education for children of working families.
The contracts are under the Community Partnerships for Children program, funded by the Legislature and the Governor in this year's state budget. The amount funded increased the prior year's appropriation from $14 million to $24 million per year.
In total, 63 awards will fund early care and education services in 68 new communities and expand services in 53 other communities. In total, 2900 additional children will have access to care and education in the first six months of these 18 month contracts who would not otherwise have had these services.
"These important state funds will support local activities which increase the affordability and accessibility of programs for three and four year olds through the use of a sliding fee scale, which enhance local collaboration, which strengthen high quality comprehensive services, and which promote local outreach to ensure that children of working families who may be hard to reach by traditional methods are located and offered care and educational opportunities that meet their needs," Antonucci noted.
Two-thirds of the funds will support expansion of programs in communities with existing programs. Among the communities receiving the largest contracts to expand existing Community Partnerships for Children programs are Springfield ($672,300), Worcester ($631,078), Lowell ($466,695), New Bedford ($409,995), Brockton ($381,571), Lawrence ($363,420), and Lynn ($321,632).
About one-third of the total new funds are provided to communities which do not currently receive Community Partnerships for Children funds. Among the communities receiving the largest contracts to start new programs are the consortium of Auburn, Blackstone, Millville, Douglas, Grafton, Millbury, Shrewsbury and Sutton ($387,350); Avon, Stoughton, Holbrook, Randolph and Easton ($320,040); Newton and Wellesley ($295,105); Melrose, Stoneham and Wakefield ($269,400); Lexington, Belmont, Arlington and Burlington ($251,981); Plymouth ($173,016); and North Adams, Adams, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Florida, Williamstown and Savoy ($164,800).
The Department of Education requested proposals in September 1995, and 100 were received. Teams of reviewers from five state agencies, several university and college faculty, Department of Education staff, state legislative aides and others reviewed each application, and Commissioner Antonucci made final decisions to fund 63 of the 100 proposals in the first week of January. A number of the funded proposals represent more than one community. The contracts are for terms of 18 months, pending state appropriation of funds for fiscal year 1997.