Colorado awarded nearly $30 million in Race to the Top funding

DENVER - Colorado will get nearly $30 million over the next four years from a federal grant for early learning programs.

Announced Thursday, the money comes from the "Race to the Top" program that is aimed at supporting 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.