School Districts Make Requests for More Pre-K Classrooms

March 11, 2008

Tennessee school districts have requested 306 new state-funded pre-K classes for the 2008-09 school year to serve four-year olds in at-risk and universal classrooms, according to a
survey released today by the Tennessee Department of Education.

School administrators in each of Tennessee’s school systems submitted a request for the number of new pre-K classrooms they would like to open next year. DeKalb County has requested two new classes. These requests would finally bring pre-K to every county in the state of Tennessee.

“This survey demonstrates the demand and desire for more families to have access to high quality pre-K education,” Governor Phil Bredesen said. “Quality pre-K classrooms are one of the best investments we can make in the education of children in Tennessee, and every family
deserves access to educational opportunities like pre-K that prepare their children to succeed in school.”

Both Sumner County and Washington County schools intend to request state pre-K funding for the first time. With these requests, Tennessee’s Voluntary Pre-K for All program will have classrooms in all but one of Tennessee’s 136 school systems.

School districts further reported 2,093 students still on pre-K waiting lists this year. This is a growth of over 500 students on the waiting list from the same time last year.

“As more families benefit from these excellent programs, we see a growing need in schools across the state to provide this valuable instruction to young children,” said Acting Education Commissioner Tim Webb. “This survey shows that the people of Tennessee support and
believe in the need for pre-K.”

Under Governor Bredesen, the state has created 934 pre-K classrooms serving 17,308 children. Tennessee’s Pre-K for All program is ranked high nationally in quality by the National Institute for Early Education Research and is held as a model state by the national advocacy
organization pre-K Now.

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