Alabama Partnership for Children

Alabama School Readiness Alliance

Advocates of early childhood education are expecting another expansion of the state's pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds, and they are waiting to see how much the governor will propose when the Legislature convenes Jan. 14.

Gov. Robert Bentley says he will recommend an increase, but he's not saying how much yet.

The Alabama School Readiness Alliance, the Alabama Partnership for Children and others are seeking an increase of $12.8 million for the upcoming school year.

A new report says early education programs in Alabama serve more than 192,000 children up to the age of 5.

The report says the industry accounts for nearly 19,000 full-time equivalent jobs with a payroll of nearly $370 million and non-pay roll expenditures of nearly $200 million.

The report was prepared by Auburn University at Montgomery economist Keivan Deravi for the Alabama Partnership for Children.

The partnership's executive director, Gail Piggott, said Monday that she was surprised by the large numbers.