INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Gov. Mike Pence is standing by his decision not to seek a federal preschool grant worth up to $80 million.


Pence issued a statement Tuesday saying his administration is focused on next year's start of a five-county pre-K pilot program approved by the General Assembly this year. He says federal funding would not guarantee success.


School Superintendent Glenda Ritz and two members of the Indiana State Board of Education called on Pence to reconsider his decision after the U.S. Education Department extended the application deadline to Wednesday. The grant would be worth $20 million over up to four years. Ritz says Indiana is among only 16 states eligible to apply for the grant.


Advocates for the grant have said it could help Indiana serve up to 2,000 low-income children.


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