CO wins nearly $30 million in federal school funds

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DENVER (AP) -- Colorado is receiving nearly $30 million in federal money over four years to accelerate the state's early learning programs.

The grant funding announced Thursday is part of "Race to the Top" money aimed at early childhood education programs. Colorado was among five states awarded the latest funding because they were all finalists in last year's competition.

Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon and Wisconsin are also receiving funds.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says the state is committed to helping children be ready for kindergarten and learning to read by the third grade.

Late last year, nine states won a collective $500 million for early learning programs. Thirty-five states along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico had applied.

The contest is administered by the Education and Health and Human Services departments.

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