The Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education is adding 107 new Pre-K classrooms in 33 counties this fall.
Gov. Kay Ivey made the announcement in a press release yesterday. The new classrooms will expand Alabama's voluntary pre-kindergarten program to nearly 19,000 children in more than 1,000 classes in all 67 counties.
This year, the Alabama legislature also approved an $18.5 million budget expansion of the state's Pre-K program.
Ada Wyhe, spokeswoman for the state's early childhood education department, says there are still nearly 40,000 eligible children who do not have access to Pre-K because of inadequate funding.
A government study of Alabama third-graders who participated in the Pre-K program revealed the initiative narrows typical academic achievement gaps between children in poverty and their more affluent peers, as well as between minority children and non-minority children.