Governor Roy Cooper has directed $8 million in federal funding to provide a one-time special allocation to all NC Pre-K classrooms, addressing classroom needs for the upcoming school year.
This funding allocation is significant as it aims to improve the quality of early childhood education and support the growth and development of young children in North Carolina. It highlights the importance of investing in public schools and early childhood education.
Governor Cooper announced the allocation during a visit to the Mary Washington Howe Pre-K Center, urging the legislature to pass a budget that prioritizes public schools and early childhood education.
The NC Pre-K Program, available in every county statewide, offers high-quality early childhood education to eligible children.
Governor Cooper had previously proposed investments of $108.3 million for 2023-24 and $199.5 million for 2024-25 to enhance the state reimbursement rates, provide start-up grants, and serve more children.
Current obstacles to NC Pre-K expansion include insufficient state reimbursement rates, rising costs, and challenges in recruiting and retaining qualified teachers.
The House and Senate budgets being considered do not provide additional funding for the NC Pre-K program, despite evidence of its effectiveness and a court mandate to expand the program.
The one-time special allocation of $8 million can be utilized for various classroom needs, such as upgrading materials, supplies, playground equipment, and mental health support.
The funding will be distributed by the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) to approximately 2,098 NC Pre-K funded classrooms, amounting to approximately $3,860 per classroom.
Governor Cooper's allocation of $8 million in federal funding to NC Pre-K classrooms will provide vital support for early childhood education in North Carolina. However, it highlights the urgent need for increased investment in public schools and early childhood education to ensure the success of young children in the state.