State lawmakers and education officials gathered in Tuscaloosa yesterday to celebrate the expansion of public preschool in Alabama.
The dignitaries cut the ribbon on two new preschool classrooms at Verner Elementary School in Tuscaloosa. Those are two of 155 new preschool classrooms opening this year throughout the state, serving 2800 more of Alabama’s four-year-olds than last year. That’s thanks to a $16 million increase in funding from the Alabama Legislature.
Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox was on hand at the ceremony. He says the push for expanded preschool in Alabama started back in 2005, with the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative.
“That created the momentum at the state level that creates days like today where the Office of School Readiness is cutting the ribbon on two additional Pre-K classrooms funded by our state. It’s this type of partnership between state and local actors that can ensure that every one of our children have the opportunity to start kindergarten on a level playing field.”
Alabama’s First Class program has been ranked the number one state pre-kindergarten program in the country for the past ten years. It now serves 1 out of 4 four-year-olds throughout the state.