ACS receives extra $80,100 grant to fund Pre-K program

Previous Alabaster pre-K students took a trip to the Alabaster fire station in April. The district recently received a state grant to help fund the program for the next school year. (File)

Previous Alabaster pre-K students took a trip to the Alabaster fire station in April. The district recently received a state grant to help fund the program for the next school year. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Alabaster City School System will spend significantly less in local funding to provide pre-kindergarten programs at its two elementary schools next year thanks to a more than $80,000 state grant it received in late May.

The Alabama Department of School Readiness notified the school system on May 29 it had received a three-year grant worth $80,100 annually, said ACS Federal Programs Director Dr. Ke Jones.

“It happened last Friday. It was a happy day,” Jones said during a June 3 interview.

Before the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, ACS received a three-year grant worth $82,800 each year to help fund the pre-K program at Meadow View Elementary School.

In order to fully fund the pre-K program at both MVES and Creek View Elementary School for the 2014-2015 school year, the Alabaster School Board spent about $170,000 in local money.

With the addition of the $80,100 grant for CVES, the local cost to fund the two pre-K programs will nearly be cut in half, Jones said.

The 2015-2016 school year will mark the second for the Alabaster pre-K program, also known as CHAMPS. The program is open to 4-year-old students who reside in the ACS attendance zone.

On May 21, the school system held a lottery to select participants for pre-K for the upcoming school year. Jones said the district received 111 total applicants and chose 17 children for each elementary school.

“We currently have 32 on the Creek View waiting list and 47 on the Meadow View waiting list,” Jones said. “We have a great program. We have the data to back it up.”

Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers said the school system has expended local funds the past two years to ensure both of the city’s pre-K programs are equal.

“Right now, pre-K is your best investment,” Vickers said. “We wanted to make sure Meadow View and Creek View were treated fairly.”