School systems get funding for pre-K

Published 9:13 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Byrd First Class Early Learning Center and Bruce K. Craig Elementary School will both have the help of grants to run pre-K classrooms in the new school year.

According to a press release sent out Tuesday, Gov. Robert Bentley announced 155 new First Class pre-K grants that will benefit 41 counties across Alabama and impact the lives of 2,790 students.

“Only 20 percent of Alabama’s 4-year-olds are currently enrolled in the First Class program. Along with the support of legislative funding, we will continue to expand access to this program until every Alabama parent who wants their child to attend has access,” Bentley said.

Email newsletter signup

He made reference to the Department of Early Childhood Education working to help organizations receive grant funding.

Byrd will receive $92,700 for the upcoming school year. Selma City School System Superintendent Dr. Angela Mangum said Byrd is no stranger to receiving grants from the state.

“The money will be used to sustain the existing program. It pays the salaries of pre-K program teachers,” Mangum said. “It’s also used for professional development along with classroom resources and materials.”

She said she believes the grants will add to the impact that early childhood education has on Byrd students.

“It helps provide them those early learning experiences that will help prepare them for kindergarten and all of the rigors of learning,” Mangum said. “It’s a very valuable and important part of our education program here in Selma, and we are elated to have continuous funding and support of our pre-k learners.”

According to Dallas County School System Superintendent Hattie Shelton, Bruce K. Craig will be implementing a pre-k program with the $150,000 in grant funding it received.

“We’re setting up a brand new class. The money will help us pay teachers as well as set the classroom up with correct materials and supplies for the students,” Shelton said.

Pre-k will be available at the school at the beginning of the new school year in August. There is a maximum of 18 slots to be filled. Shelton said notifications would be posted in all system schools to let parents know how they can register their children for the program.

“After so many weeks that applications are available, we will have to do a lottery drawing just like we do for all pre-k programs in the system,” Shelton said.

The lottery will determine which students will be accepted into the program.

She said it is important that the state invests in early childhood education.

“We are excited about the program and believe this one and others in the system give our kids a head start on a strong academic foundation.” Shelton said.