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Gov. Pritzker Visits Ball Elementary School to Highlight Investments in Early Childhood Education

Press Release - Thursday, January 05, 2023

SANGAMON COUNTY — Today, Governor JB Pritzker along with local and community leaders visited Ball Elementary School in Chatham, Illinois to highlight investments in the Preschool for All program. The Governor met with Superintendent Becca Lamon, Principal Tricia Burke, teachers, and students on their first day back from winter break.

"When we invest in our students, we're ensuring our young people receive the quality care and education they deserve, putting them on a trajectory for lifelong learning," said Governor Pritzker. "Through the historic expansion of our early childhood education programs, we're continuing to advance Illinois as the leading state in the nation for children, families, and the educators that support them."

"Our confidence, our character, and how we view the world are all shaped by what we learn and how we learn as young children," said Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. "That is why our administration invests in early childhood development at every level, from educational programs in marginalized communities; to providing resources for teachers and support staff; to broadening access to affordable, quality childcare for parents. When our children are well, our communities are well. Thank you, Governor Pritzker, for continuing to put families first in Illinois."

Governor Pritzker's administration has prioritized high quality early childhood education and childcare programs in a variety of ways, with the goal of supporting children, families, teachers, and providers. Under his leadership, Illinois' early childhood education and K-12 system have been expanded in the following ways:

  • Increasing the Early Childhood Block Grant by a total of $104.4 million, bringing the current funding to an all-time high of $598.1 million. This investment allows 89,000 children to participate in half-day preschool, 7,000 to participate in full-day preschool, and nearly 19,000 young children to receive home-visiting services.
  • Increasing per child funding for preschool and home-visiting services, providing a 5% cost of living adjustment for community-based providers, and expanding access to doula services for women pre and post birth.
  • Strengthening Illinois' early childhood education and care field with investments that enable providers to continue serving their local communities and decrease financial burden for working families.
  • Increasing access to healthy food options in schools across the state, providing Illinois children with the well-rounded, nutritious meals vital to a healthy learning environment.
  • Launching the Children's Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative to evaluate and redesign the delivery of behavioral health services for children and adolescents throughout Illinois.
  • Creating a Division of Early Childhood at the Illinois Department of Human Services to manage childcare grants and funding, home visiting programs and Early Intervention.
  • Increasing the number of children receiving Center-Based Prevention Initiative services, bringing the total number served to 7,435.
  • Launched a statewide, interagency high-impact tutoring initiative to facilitate learning recovery efforts post COVID-19.
  • Provided historically high levels of Evidence Based Funding for K-12 students.
  • Codified protections for Illinoisans based on hairstyles based on hairstyles historically associated with specific racial groups.
  • Implemented the TEAACH Act, ensuring every public elementary and high school student in Illinois learns about the contributions of Asian Americans to the economic, cultural, social, and political development of the United States.

Ball Elementary School is one of six schools within the Ball-Chatham School District and serves student from Pre-K through 4th grade. They have an estimated 120 students enrolled in their Preschool for all Program. Ball Elementary also serves all Pre-K and Early Childhood programs for the Ball-Chatham School District.


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