early childhood education

The state of Alabama has received a $1.5 million grant to help expand a program aimed at strengthening early childhood education across the state.

Governor Kay Ivey’s office says the grant comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and will help expand Alabama’s Pre-K through Third Grade Integrated Approach to Early Learning. WSFA-TV reports that program is the first pillar of Ivey’s new education initiative, Strong Start, Strong Finish.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is due to testify before State Auditor Jim Zeigler later this morning regarding potential misuse of state funds, but Ziegler says he doubts Bentley will show up.

Zeigler says the state auditor has the authority to call any state official to testify under oath if there are suspicions that state money is being misused. Late last month, he ordered the governor to address several areas including the use of BP settlement money and records related to his relationship with former staffer Rebekah Caldwell Mason.

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.