More NC Children in Pre-K This Fall Thanks to Funding Pushed by Gov. Cooper 28,000 students to start NC Pre-K, including 1,800 in new slots across the state


More than 1,800 additional 4-year-olds will attend the NC Pre-K program this fall thanks to efforts by Governor Roy Cooper to expand the state’s pre-kindergarten education program.
“These young children will get a strong start in school and in life with this early start to their education,” said Governor Cooper. “Quality preschool programs are critical to long-term success for our children and our state. We must continue to make this opportunity available to more children. This year alone more than 4,000 children who want to attend Pre-K programs won’t get that chance, but we’ll keep fighting to include them because the benefits of quality early childhood education are clear.”
Governor Cooper visited Excel Christian Academy in Burlington, a church-sponsored 5-star rated child care center licensed for 123 children ages 2 to school age. Thanks to the expansion funding from the state, the school’s Pre-K classroom will now serve 18 children, six more than before.
In his budget, Gov. Cooper sought to end a waiting list for Pre-K by funding slots for 4,668 more at-risk four-year-olds, bringing the state total to more than 28,000 children. The Governor’s budget requested $32.4 million over two years to fund the expansion. Instead, legislators appropriated $27.3 million over two years which will serve about 3,500 new children. 
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services includes the Division of Child Development and Early Education, which administers the NC Pre-K Program.
“We are delighted to give the Excel Christian Academy the opportunity to help more children benefit from this wonderful program,” said N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, who accompanied Governor Cooper on his visit Tuesday. “Every child needs a great start for lifelong health, education and well-being, and we will keep working hard every day at DHHS to support families in providing that strong foundation with programs like NC Pre-K.”
“I can’t tell you how much NC Pre-K has benefitted our children and their families,” said Davina Woods, Excel Christian Academy’s director. “The progress students in our NC Pre-K class make during the year is incredible to see. We know our children enter school ready to succeed thanks to NC Pre-K.”
Independent evaluations consistently show that children who participate in NC Pre-K have higher math and reading standardized test scores, better language and social skills, are less likely to need special education, and have lower rates of retention in third, fourth and fifth grades than they would otherwise experience.
The availability of quality childcare is often a critical factor for parents in the workforce. Quality early childhood education also has benefits for parents whose children attend, including giving parents peace of mind that their children are in good hands while they are at work.
NC Pre-K serves eligible four-year-old children, primarily those whose family income does not exceed 75 percent of the state’s median income of $60,074.
For a chart detailing 2017-2018 NC Pre-K expansion by county, click here.


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