HCS looks to more than double its number of pre-K classrooms

HOOVER – After a successful first year, Hoover City Schools is looking to expand its First Class Pre-K program.

HCS opened five classrooms at the start of the current school year—one each at Greystone, Green Valley, Gwin, Rocky Ridge and South Shades Crest elementary schools.

After a $600,000 new classroom grant for the school system, Hoover spent $20,815 of local funds on the program, which was to install fencing around playgrounds as required by the state, HCS Assistant Superintendent for Administration Tera Simmons said during a presentation to the Board of Education at its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

Ninety students are enrolled in the program currently—18 in each class—with more than 100 students on the waiting list.

“It’s a great program,” Simmons said during the presentation to the Board. “We hear wonderful feedback from the parents, teachers and principals.”

The system now plans to apply for a Year 2 grant for the existing classrooms, which if approved would keep them open for the next school year.

Also, Murphy said HCS will apply for new classroom grants in the amount of $120,000 for additional classrooms at South Shades Crest (two new classrooms), Greystone, Green Valley and Shades Mountain, and a new classroom at Trace Crossings Elementary School.

While the program was free for participants this school year, next year Hoover City Schools will charge tuition on a sliding scale as provided by the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education.

Tuition would range from $40 a month to $300 a month based on household size and income.

Online registration for the current classes will be held from Jan. 15 through March 31.

A random drawing for registrants will be held at 10 a.m. on April 3. Parents will be notified soon after the drawing if their children were selected for the program.

If the additional classes are approved, registration and a drawing for those classes would be held and announced at a different time.

For more information or to register, visit HooverCitySchools.net and click on the “Hoover Pre-K” link, or visit Children.Alabama.gov/firstclass.