A year ago, the Columbia County school board was exploring the possibility of scrapping its prekindergarten program for 4-year-olds in 2008-09. Instead, the school system will start the academic year with an additional pre-k class.
Administrators recently learned that the state approved the system's application to expand its prekindergarten program, and a second pre-k class will be added at Grovetown Elementary School.
"We identified that area because it served the population that this program was designed to help," said Sandra Carraway, the deputy superintendent.
The Grovetown area has a high number of pupils who might qualify for free or reduced lunches, she said, and the community has fewer private preschools than other parts of the county.
With the newest program, the system will serve 340 preschoolers in 17 classes. Each class has 20 pupils.
Dr. Carraway said 17 of 18 children on the Grovetown preschool waiting list had committed to the program, and she expected the remaining three slots to fill quickly.
Grovetown had two preschool classes two years ago, Dr. Carraway said, but one of the programs was moved to Cedar Ridge Elementary School when it opened last year.
North Harlem Elementary School has three pre-K classes, and 12 elementary schools have one pre-K class. Stevens Creek, Blue Ridge and Riverside elementary schools do not have prekindergarten programs.
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