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State funds 2nd Pre-K class at Red Level

Parents of potential Pre-K students who have not yet been placed in a classroom got good news Thursday when Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education announced the addition of 164 new Pre-K classrooms, including an additional classroom for Red Level.

Red Level Elementary Principal Clifton Pace said he is delighted for the students.

“As Gov. Ivey said, we want to give students a strong start in their education journey so they finish strong in their careers,” Pace said.

Pace said approximately 40 students were entered in the lottery for the school’s Pre-K spots earlier this spring. For the existing class, 18 names were drawn. Pace said school officials will fill the new class with 16 to 18 students currently on the waiting list.

“If they applied after the closing date, we will choose from those names after we go through the waiting list,” he said.

Superintendent Shannon Driver said while the system had hoped an additional Pre-K class would be funded, they were not sure until Thursday’s announcement. The board will hire an additional Pre-K and auxiliary teacher at its next meeting.

At present, Covington County Schools have six Pre-K classrooms funded by the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education. Andalusia City Schools have three state-funded classrooms, and Opp City Schools have two state-funded Pre-K classes.

The 164 new classrooms will expand access to the state funded, voluntary pre-kindergarten program to 21,636 children in the 2019-2020 school year, with more than 1,202 classrooms statewide, moving closer to Alabama’s goal of serving up to 70 percent of eligible four-year-olds.

Ivey said additional grants will be awarded based on further evaluation of high-needs areas before the commencement of the 2019-2020 school year.