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Grants to be used for early literacy, charter schools

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The New Mexico Public Education Department has received more than $42 million in federal grants to fund early literacy programs and charter schools.

The “NM Literacy Connections” grant of the New Mexico Striving Readers Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, totals $20 million over the next three years and will be used to expand and strengthen early literacy efforts in the state, according to a Tuesday announcement.

The funding will be distributed starting in 2018 to at least 12 school districts, impacting more than 30,000 elementary students, through a competitive sub-granting process. The process will focus on high-need districts in both urban and rural settings in the state’s efforts to create more equitable funding for students.

The New Mexico Charter Schools Program grant totals more than $22 million over the next five years. That grant is also funded by the U.S. Education Department. According to the Public Education Department, that money is intended to elevate student achievement at charter schools and increase the number of high-quality charter schools across the state. Funding also will be used to improve authorization practices.