Governor Bredesen handed out $ 20 million in grants Thursday as part of the initiative to expand the number of pre-kindergarten classrooms across the state and provide the classes for about 5,000 more four-year-olds.
The grants will be used to open 227 more classrooms statewide, extending the pre-K program to 88 of the state's 95 counties.
Locally, Memphis City Schools will add 25 new pre-kindergarten classes and Shelby County Schools will add two.
The money was approved as part of this year's budget and brings total funding for the program to $55 million.
A pre-kindergarten expansion last year provided classes for about six-thousand students. The state has an estimated 37,000 disadvantaged pre-kindergarteners.