Commissioners debate viability of pre-K funding - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Commissioners debate viability of pre-K funding

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Shelby County Schools leaders told the Shelby County Commission how they hope to restore 20 of the 40 pre-K classes that were initially slated to be cut. Shelby County Schools leaders told the Shelby County Commission how they hope to restore 20 of the 40 pre-K classes that were initially slated to be cut.
The pre-K funding debate between school leaders and Shelby County Commission comes weeks after the superintendent told the school board he needs $9 million to keep current pre-K classes in tact. The pre-K funding debate between school leaders and Shelby County Commission comes weeks after the superintendent told the school board he needs $9 million to keep current pre-K classes in tact.
MEMPHIS, TN -
(WMC) - Shelby County Schools leaders told the Shelby County Commission how they hope to restore 20 of the 40 pre-K classes that were initially slated to be cut.

Not everyone was happy about the solution SCS leaders came up with.

"Moving dollars, robbing Peter to pay Paul, is not a sustainable solution to pre-K," said SCS Board Chairman Kevin Woods. "It is going to have to take a community wide effort."

The pre-K funding debate between school leaders and Shelby County Commission comes weeks after the superintendent told the school board he needs $9 million to keep current pre-K classes in tact. 

Commissioner Steve Basar cited a study by former Memphis City Schools on Kindergarten readiness among those who went to pre-K, Head Start, and "none of the above."

"It does not show or demonstrate to me that those that went to Head Start or pre-K are head and shoulder above than 'none of the above' group," said Shelby County Commissioner Steve Basar.

Basar said it is about affordability. 

"Refresh the data for us. I'm for pre-K. Universal pre-K would be great, but we've got to be able to afford it," he added.

The current budget the Shelby County Commission will consider still has 24 fewer pre-K classes than the previous year. 

"Right now, as we get them, they're far behind on reading levels and grade levels," said SCS Chief of Staff Reginald Porter Jr. "We want to make sure they get that education ahead of time. So pre-K is where we start."

SCS leaders told the commission they are working with the business community, stake holders, and parents to help fund pre-K.

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