Alabama pre-K education

Baldwin County Probate Judge Tim Russell
Matt Teague / Los Angeles Times

Probate judges from across Alabama are meeting in Tuscaloosa today. Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold reports they’ll be talking about updates to marriage laws.

The push to expand legalized gambling in Alabama is gaining some prominent new supporters.

Former Auburn University football coach Pat Dye and former Alabama Power Company CEO Charles McCrary say they will lead a foundation to legalize a state lottery and allow casinos at the state's four dog tracks.

The two attended a news conference in Montgomery yesterday to announce the formation of the new Alabama Jobs Foundation.

The group says a gambling expansion could create as many as 11,000 jobs and add $400 million to the state’s coffers.

Alabama School Readiness Alliance

Alabama's voluntary pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds gets high marks in a new national report.

The National Institute for Early Education Research says Alabama is one of only four states with pre-kindergarten programs that meet all the institute's quality standards. But the report says access is very limited in Alabama, with only 6 percent of 4-year-olds being served during the 2012-2013 school year.

Alabama's voluntary pre-kindergarten program is expected to see a roughly 40 percent increase thanks to increased funding.

   Commissioner of the Department of Children's Affairs, Jeana Ross, told ( Monday that grant funding has helped state officials to form pre-kindergarten programs at 93 new schools.

State of Alabama

Alabama's governor is proposing an education budget that gives small increases to all levels of education from kindergarten through college.

Gov. Robert Bentley unveiled his recommended budgets Wednesday. His education budget includes a 2.5 percent pay raise for public school employees and a substantial expansion of Alabama's pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds.

AP Photo/Dave Martin

Republican and Democratic legislators say Gov. Robert Bentley's plan to expand Alabama's pre-kindergarten program has broad support and will be approved by the Legislature.

Bentley called for the expansion in his State of the State address Tuesday night. Senate Democratic leader Vivian Davis Figures said an expansion will provide a solid foundation for Alabama children.

The governor is adding his voice to business and education leaders calling for an expansion of Alabama's small pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds.

Gov. Robert Bentley says he wants to expand pre-K education and considers it more important than the Alabama Reading Initiative.

Bentley's comments to a Birmingham business group came less than a week after the State Board of Education called for an extra $5 million next year. A coalition of business leaders, educators and children's advocates is pushing for an even bigger increase.