Today the U.S. Department of Education announced  that North Carolina is among 9 states that won competitive Early Childhood Learning grants through the Race to the Top initiative. North Carolina will receive between $50-$70 million dollars for early childhood programming over the next four years. Because the grant is spread over a 4 year period, the maximum annual amount North Carolina can receive is between $16 and $18 million . This amount of funding is insufficient to meet the $30 million mark identified by Governor Perdue as needed to replace the over 6,000 North Carolina Prekindergarten (NCPK) slots that were lost for the rest of this year as a result of the General Assembly’s budget. Governor Perdue has correctly stated  that the legislature still must allocate funds in order to comply with Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning’s recent ruling  mandating increased access to NCPK for at risk four year olds. Regardless, the federal funds will provide some welcome respite for an NCPK program that has been working diligently to deal with a disproportionately large 20% loss of funding for FY 2011-12.