Shelby Co. Commission finds compromise for pre-K funding

Shelby Co. Commission finds compromise for pre-K funding
Published: Jul. 21, 2014 at 9:22 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2014 at 9:04 AM CDT
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(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 file)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 file)

(WMC) - The Shelby County Election Commission found a compromise in their latest pre-K funding battle.

Monday, the commission approved $3 million in surplus dollars to go to pre-K through the Shelby County Schools Education Foundation, which will distribute the funds to ensure they're used for pre-K.

Originally, the commission considered a plan to fund pre-K with $6 million. Mayor Mark Luttrell asked the commission to wait and do a study before committing $3 million.

The two sides met in the middle Monday and the commission voted to lower the amount from $6 million to $3 million.

"I think we can still work within this compromise to get what's needed. I think that's sustainability and a good plan," said Luttrell.

All elementary schools will get a share according to average daily attendance. This includes the municipal school districts that have not yet set up its pre-K programs.

Among those who made a plea to commissioners for the money was seventh grader Karmen Winters and her mother, Rosemarya school resource teacher at Downtown Elementary School.

"I said I think pre-K is important to me, because when I was in pre-K, it basically taught me my reading skills, and it taught me what I needed to know for kindergarten," said Karmen.

"I am so happy the amendment passed for our students so we can continue to have pre-K classes in the Shelby County [Schools] district," said Rosemary.

Shelby County's pre-K program is designed to help 4 year olds who have been identified as educationally and economically at risk.

"We're talking about two dozen more pre-K classrooms, roughly," Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy said.

Mid-South parents WMC Action News 5 spoke with after the funding passed committee last week, say they support pre-K because it helps make sure children are ready for kindergarten and gives them a head start for the rest of their education.

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