Education leaders to request $26.3M to expand early childhood

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 3:48 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - While many school districts across the Magnolia State are gearing up for August, Mississippi Department of Education leaders are looking ahead to the 2022 legislative session and planning their budget.

In a special-called budget work session, state leaders said they would be requesting a total of $26.3 million from lawmakers during the next 2022 session in order to expand early childhood programs.

That’s double the amount the state has previously received, and it would allow for an additional 3,914 students to have access to early childhood programs.

The district says 95% of the funds go directly to districts to operate programs, and the remaining funds will be used for professional development.

Mississippi’s early learning collaboratives are performing well, leaders say, which is why they want to expand the program and reach more students.

“The results we’re getting from our pre-K students coming out of our collaboratives is remarkable. Almost three-fourths of those kids are leaving 4-year-old programs ready for entry into kindergarten,” Dr. Oakley said, MDE chief academic officer.

“This would allow us to essentially more than double what we’re serving right now,” Oakley added.

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