Ala. Governor Announces New First Class Pre-K Classrooms
May 17, 2016
Earlier today Alabama Governor Robert Bentley announced 155 new First Class Pre-K grants for the upcoming school. This will bring the total number of high-quality, voluntary First Class 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 next school year.
The Alabama School Readiness Alliance and its business-led Pre-K Task Force are leading an advocacy campaign to encourage the Legislature to fully fund the First Class Pre-K program by the 2022-2023 school year. ASRA estimates that a level of funding of $144 million is needed for the First Class Pre-K program to serve every family in Alabama that wants to enroll their child. Funding for the program in the 2016-2017 school year will be $64.5 million, a $16 million increase over the 2015-2016 level.
“We are grateful that state leaders once again prioritized some of the growth in the Education Trust Fund budget to expand Alabama’s high-quality, voluntary First Class Pre-K program,” said pre-k advocate Allison Muhlendorf, executive director of the Alabama School Readiness Alliance. “As a result, more families than ever before will be able to find a First Class Pre-K classroom in their community.”
For ten-years in a row, Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program, which is managed by the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, has been ranked the number one state-funded pre-kindergarten program in the country for quality by the National Institute for Early Childhood Education. NIEER annually ranks state pre-k programs for quality based on ten measures. Alabama’s voluntary pre-k program is one of only six states in the nation to meet or exceed all ten NIEER benchmarks, and only the second state to do so in ten consecutive years.
Read Governor Bentley’s Announcement: http://governor.alabama.gov/newsroom/2016/05/governor-bentley-announces-15-million-awarded-pre-k-grants/
List of New First Class Pre-K Grants:
Map & List of Existing First Class Pre-K Classrooms (registration at the local level is still open at some of these sites, for next year): http://children.alabama.gov/find-a-first-class-site-1/
First Class Pre-K Expansion by the Numbers:
FY 2017 Funding: $64.5 million, an increase of $16 million over the current year funding.
Number of New First Class Pre-K Classrooms Projected for 2016-17: 155
Approximate # of New First Class Participants Projected for 2016-17: 2,800
Approximate Total # of First Class Pre-K Sites Projected for 2016-2017: 807
Approximate Total # of First Class Participants Projected for 2016-2017: 14,600
Projected Percent of State Four Year Olds with Access for 2016-2017: 25 percent
The Alabama School Readiness Alliance advocates for the expansion of high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten. ASRA works to ensure that pre-k is a continuing priority for Alabama’s children, parents, community leaders, legislators and governing officials. ASRA is a collaborative effort of A+ Education Partnership, Alabama Giving, Alabama Partnership and VOICES for Alabama’s Children. Visit www.alabamaschoolreadiness.org to learn more.