Alabama is getting 164 new Pre-K classes for the upcoming school year. More than 40 of those are coming to North Alabama.
Madison City Schools said 18 kids were taken off the Pre-K waitlist after the district learned it received funding for another class. However, more than 100 kids are still on the waitlist.
Robby Parker, the Madison City Schools superintendent, said nearly 220 students will fill up the district's First Class Pre-K program this fall.
"The students that go to Madison's First Class Pre-K outperform students that don't go to Madison's First Class Pre-K," he said.
The program was able to add a class after receiving a grant from the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, but Parker said the program would need to nearly double in size to accommodate every family that wants their kid in the program. He said they started applying for funding for the program in 2014, and that's what has made it all possible.
"We started with just a couple of classes. It's grown to 12 now, and we've continually applied for more grants," Parker said.
He explained the latest grant is a step in the right direction, but there is still a ways to go until the program is able to get rid of the waitlist.
"We were hoping the state was going to let us add another one and, hopefully, we will be able to continue to add until everyone is taken care of," Parker said.
Parker said he hopes in the future, the Pre-K program will be moved into one of the city's current elementary schools so it can be expanded. He said a new elementary school would be built to accommodate the need.