New pre-kindergarten programs start Monday at two Grovetown elementary schools.
Because few privately owned preschools serve the Grovetown area, the state Department of Early Care and Learning recently allocated $300,000 in lottery funds to start pre-kindergarten classes at Euchee Creek and Brookwood elementary schools. The money will be used to hire two teachers and two para-professionals to run the classes.
Once under way, the added classes will bring the school system's total number of pre-kindergarten programs up to 20, serving 400 pupils.
Pupils for the new classes will be chosen from a list of children who were not selected when the school system conducted a lottery for the available spots.
Though the school board unanimously approved the addition of the classes during a Tuesday meeting, some expressed reservations.
"If this is such a great thing for education ... then it (should) be available to every kid," said board member Wayne Bridges.
Superintendent Charles Nagle said he didn't disagree with Bridges, but said because the funding from the state is available to operate only 20 classes, it's better to have those 20 than none at all.
Pupils taking pre-kindergarten benefit from the course as a preparation for kindergarten, Nagle said.
Though pre-kindergarten classes are supported by the Georgia lottery, board member Mike Sleeper said area taxpayers still must pay for the overhead costs to operate the classes.
However, in this circumstance, Nagle said both schools had available classroom space, so added overhead should be minimal.
Board chairwoman Regina Buccafusco said the programs are worth the added costs.
"It's a good program for those 4-year-olds," she said. "I'm confident in the way it's taught in our schools."
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