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County gets $300K for pre-K

2 programs among 155 funded

Escambia County is one of 41 counties to share in more than $15 million in “First Class Pre-K” grants.

Gov. Robert Bentley made the announcement Tuesday that the monies would fund 155 new grants for the upcoming school year – bringing the total of high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten classrooms to more than 800 statewide.

Approximately 25 percent of the state’s four-year-olds will have access to a classroom in their community in the coming years. Among those will be children eligible to attend W.S. Neal and A.C. Moore elementary schools.

“Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten is a proven program that prepares students for success,” Bentley said. “Only 20 percent of Alabama’s four-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. I appreciate the staff at the Department of Early Childhood Education for working hard to help organizations receive grants.”

Grants were awarded based on several criteria including local needs, local demand and assurances of high quality standards at the new and expanding pre-k sites. Each grantee is required to supplement the grant award with an amount equal to or greater than 25 percent of the award amount. Remaining grants will be allocated to additional sites based on various needs in the near future.

WSN and ACM elementary schools each received $150,000.

More on how the Escambia County School System plans to use the grant funds will be released in the coming days, Superintendent John Knott said.