State grant allows pre-school expansion - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

State grant allows pre-school expansion

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Peoria Public Schools is expanding its early childhood education program at Valeska Hinton.   The pre-school won a competitive $740,000 dollar state grant. 

Valeska Hinton Principal Katie Cobb said for many years there's  been a waiting list at the pre-school.    Right now there is a waiting list with 300 families on it. 
She added  with the grant money they hope to erase it. 

"Hopefully with our graduates that are going into kindergarten, that are currently here at Valeska, them going into kindergarten, us being able to provide this experience, we'll be able to eliminate our waiting list and fill those placements into next year," she said.

With 453 students enrolled at Valeska Hinton there is no space to include more students.   
So they will be using five classrooms at Woodruff Career and Technical Center to bring in about 100 additional pre-schoolers.

"We're very excited.  we're looking forward to a great opportunity to share education and start educational career with so many young students," she said.

One grandparent calls the expansion well deserved.

"I think that is awesome, it's a great school and I'm happy for them that they have the right to expand," said Grandparent June Frank.

Cobb said with another head start program already operating out of Woodruff it provides the best location.   The expanded preschool classes will start by the end of the month
The principal said they will apply for the grant every year to help cover the costs for staff salaries.  

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