To be eligible for a grant under this chapter, a State shall—
(1) ensure that funds received by the State under this chapter shall be subject to appropriation by the State legislature, consistent with the terms and conditions required under State law;
(2) designate a Lead State Agency under section 9409(c) of this title to administer and monitor the grant and ensure State-level coordination of early learning programs;
(3) submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such information as the Secretary may require;
(4) ensure that funds made available under this chapter are distributed on a competitive basis throughout the State to Local Councils serving rural, urban, and suburban areas of the State; and
(5) assist the Secretary in developing mechanisms to ensure that Local Councils receiving funds under this chapter comply with the requirements of this chapter.
(b) State preference
In awarding grants to Local Councils under this chapter, the State, to the maximum extent possible, shall ensure that a broad variety of early learning programs that provide a continuity of services across the age spectrum assisted under this chapter are funded under this chapter, and shall give preference to supporting—
(1) a Local Council that meets criteria, that are specified by the State and approved by the Secretary, for qualifying as serving an area of greatest need for early learning programs; and
(2) a Local Council that demonstrates, in the application submitted under section 9412 of this title, the Local Council's potential to increase collaboration as a means of maximizing use of resources provided under this chapter with other resources available for early learning programs.
(c) Local preference
In awarding grants under this chapter, Local Councils shall give preference to supporting—
(1) projects that demonstrate their potential to collaborate as a means of maximizing use of resources provided under this chapter with other resources available for early learning programs;
(2) programs that provide a continuity of services for young children across the age spectrum, individually, or through community-based networks or cooperative agreements; and
(3) programs that help parents and other caregivers promote early learning with their young children.
(d) Performance goals
Based on information and data received from Local Councils, and information and data available through State resources, the State shall biennially assess the needs and available resources related to the provision of early learning programs within the State.
(2) Performance goals
Based on the analysis of information described in paragraph (1), the State shall establish measurable performance goals to be achieved through activities assisted under this chapter.
The State shall award grants to Local Councils only for purposes that are consistent with the performance goals established under paragraph (2).
The State shall report to the Secretary annually regarding the State's progress toward achieving the performance goals established in paragraph (2) and any necessary modifications to those goals, including the rationale for the modifications.
(5) Improvement plans
If the Secretary determines, based on the State report submitted under paragraph (4), that the State is not making progress toward achieving the performance goals described in paragraph (2), then the State shall submit a performance improvement plan to the Secretary, and demonstrate reasonable progress in implementing such plan, in order to remain eligible for funding under this chapter.