Legislature Approves Increased Pre-K Funding

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

The Alabama Legislature today gave final approval to a $13 million expansion of Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program. Both chambers agreed to an Education Trust Fund Budget compromise after a conference committee worked out differences between the Senate- and House-passed versions. The bill, which includes a total of $77.5 million for the state’s high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten program, now goes to Governor Ivey her signature.Click here to thank your lawmakers for prioritizing pre-k funding!
There are currently 816 First Class Pre-K classrooms across the state. That is only enough classrooms for 25 percent of four-year-olds statewide. The $13 million increase in state funding – combined with funding from year three of Alabama’s four-year federal Preschool Development Grant – is expected to allow for the addition of at least 100 new First Class Pre-K classrooms.
The Alabama School Readiness Alliance has estimated that the state would need to appropriate a total level of funding of $144 million to give every Alabama family the opportunity to voluntarily enroll their four-year-old in a First Class Pre-K program.
In a joint statement, the Co-Chairs of the Alabama School Readiness Alliance’s business-led Pre-K Task Force, Bob Powers and Mike Luce, applauded legislators for prioritizing funds in this year’s budget to expand access to Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program.
“The budget approved today moves Alabama closer to our goal of fully funding high-quality, voluntary pre-k by the 2022-2023 school year,” said Bob Powers and Mike Luce, the co-chairs of the Alabama School Readiness Alliance Pre-K Task Force. “We thank the Legislature for once again making First Class Pre-K a priority.”
Mike Luce is Vice Chairman of Harbert Management in Birmingham. Bob Powers is the President of The Eufaula Agency. They are joined on the ASRA Pre-K Task Force by more than 40 prominent leaders from the business, education, civic, medical, legal, philanthropic, military and child advocacy communities. The group first proposed expanding pre-k access to all families in 2012. That year the Task Force launched a ten-year campaign, now in its fifth year, to advocate for incremental increases in First Class Pre-K until the program is fully funded in the 2022-2023 school year. The Task Force’s recommendations have been updated annually since the campaign’s launch.
The Alabama School Readiness Alliance’s Pre-K Task Force Recommendations can be viewed in their entirety at: alabamaschoolreadiness.org/recommendations/.
Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program is administered by the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education through a competitive grants process. Classrooms are located in public schools, child care centers, faith-based centers, Head Start programs and other preschool settings. Prospective First Class Pre-K providers apply for new First Class Pre-K classroom grants or enhancement grants at the Department’s website, www.children.alabama.gov.
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.

About Us

The Alabama School Readiness Alliance is a statewide, nonprofit coalition advocating for the expansion of high-quality, voluntary pre-k. ASRA was formed in 2006 as a joint campaign of A+ Education PartnershipAlabama GivingAlabama Partnership for Children and VOICES for Alabama’s Children. ASRA’s mission is to close student achievement gaps by ensuring that all children enter school ready to learn.

Recent Posts

Follow Us

ASRA Video

Sign up for Alerts