Governor announces $20 million in grants for pre-K expansion

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.

Bredesen, a Democrat who is up for re-election this fall, has pledged to expand pre-K access to all the state's four-year-olds if he is elected to a second term.