Local schools receive state Pre-K grants

Published 3:01 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Four school sites in Shelby County received state pre-kindergarten grants on May 17. (Contributed)

Four school sites in Shelby County received state pre-kindergarten grants on May 17. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Two schools in Shelby County will add pre-kindergarten programs next school year and two schools will expand their current pre-K offerings after they received several hundred thousand dollars in state grants on May 17.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley announced more than 150 grants on May 17 for dozens of school systems throughout the state. In total, the grants, which are being funded by a $16 million increase for pre-K education approved by the Alabama Legislature this year, will provide pre-K programs for nearly 2,800 additional 4-year-olds in the state.

Four locations in Shelby County received state grants, including Inverness Elementary School in the Shelby County School System, Meadow View Elementary and Creek View Elementary in the Alabaster City School System and the University of Montevallo’s Child Study Center.

The two Alabaster schools received $150,000 grants each, and IES and the UM site each received $120,000.

Each grant recipient will be required to provide a 25 percent match for the state funds.

The grants will cover the costs of materials, required furniture and teacher and paraprofessional salaries. Each pre-K classroom will serve a maximum of 18 students.

With the grants, IES and UM will launch their first pre-K programs for the upcoming school year. The UM Child Study Center is a full-day accredited preschool providing educational opportunities for future preschool teachers.

IES Principal Christine Hoffman said she is excited her school will serve as a pre-K site beginning with the next school year.

“It will be so wonderful for our community,” Hoffman said. “We have a diverse community, and not all families can afford to pay to enroll their children in a private pre-K program. We are happy we will be able to help meet that need.”

CVES and MVES have operated pre-K classrooms for the past few years, and the state grants will allow each school to expand its program to two classrooms, said ACS Federal Programs Director Dr. Ke Jones, who worked with Dr. Keri Johnson to submit the grant application.

Alabaster’s pre-K lottery selection will be on Monday, May 23.

“These grants will fund everything for those two brand new classes,” Jones said, noting the grants will allow the school system to serve between 60-70 total pre-K students. “We are thrilled about this.”