$700K allocated to Louisiana early childhood pilot projects

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's top school board is spending $700,000 on seven pilot projects aimed at improving access to early childhood education.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education agreed Wednesday to steer the dollars to school systems in Iberville, Jefferson, Lafayette, Rapides, and Washington parishes. Money also will go to the New Orleans Early Education Network and St. Mary Parish Community Action Agency.

The pilot programs, called Ready Start Community Networks, will spend two years assessing local child care needs, working to improve teacher training and developing fundraising strategies. The findings are expected to help determine statewide improvements.

The changes stem from 2012 and 2018 state laws aimed at improving what once was an uncoordinated patchwork of child care facilities and education centers.

The pilot programs will be funded through a grant.

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