(The Center Square) – Preschools in Illinois are expanding in some areas due to the $250 million taxpayer-funded Smart Start Program.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the Smart Start Program looks to make early childhood daycare and preschool more accessible for families throughout the state. The program is run by the Illinois State Board of Education, which hopes to add 5,000 seats in certain areas. However, on Wednesday, Pritzker said the state had exceeded that number.
“This is resulting in not 5,000 but 5,823 brand new preschool seats, every one of which is valuable for those children and their parents and our futures,” Pritzker said. “That’s 15% more than we promised for just this year, vastly exceeding our first-year goals.”
Pritzker said some areas that will be receiving funding to go toward preschool expansion have no preschool options at all.
“Fifty-nine of those 95 programs are brand new programs in places where none