Applications up for Pre-K classes
Published 1:30 am Tuesday, April 3, 2018
100+ applications could mean more funding for Andalusia
Andalusia City Schools officials are hopeful the city system will receive funding for at least one additional Pre-K unit, based on the interest shown during registration.
Sonja Hines, a district administrator for Andalusia City Schools, told board members Monday night there were 101 potential students who applied for the K-4 classes during pre-registration. Students are chosen for the class by lottery. Once the first 32 names are selected, school officials assess the classroom needs and could add four more students to the current classrooms. The system also has applied for an additional classroom.
“If we can get funding for at third classroom, we will choose 16 to 18 more,” she said.
At present, the system operates three Pre-K classrooms. Two are funded by the state and are on the Andalusia Elementary School campus. A third one is funded locally, and operates in the Bright Beginnings building.
At the state level, Pre-K is funded through the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education. The 2018-19 education budget approved by the Alabama legislature last week includes $18.5 million to add an additional 100 Pre-K classrooms. With the expansion, Alabama is spending $96 million on its Pre-K program.
Hines said parents may still register for the city’s Pre-K program, and their children will be considered if an additional drawing is held. The process, which is available only online, can be completed at https://alprek.asapconnected.com.
Advocates from the Alabama School Readiness Alliance and its Pre-K Task Force, a coalition of more than 40 prominent leaders from the business, education, civic, medical, legal, philanthropic, military and child advocacy communities, estimate that it would take an annual appropriation of $144 million to provide high-quality, voluntary pre-k to every family in the state that wanted to enroll their child.
“Research released last month reaffirms that students who participate in Alabama’s high-quality, voluntary First Class Pre-K program outperform their peers in reading and math; however, too few four-year-olds are able to participate because of a lack of funding for the program,” said Mike Luce and Bob Powers, the co-chairs of the Alabama School Readiness Alliance’s Pre-K Task Force. “The state legislature today voted to give more families an opportunity to enroll their children in First Class Pre-K. We applaud their commitment to expanding Alabama’s voluntary pre-kindergarten program and we encourage state leaders to continue to make pre-k investments a priority until the program is fully funded.”