County Commission approves $3 million to expand pre-K

The Shelby County Commission will give $3 million to the Shelby County Education Foundation to expand prekindergarten this year, according to local media reports.

Last week the commission’s education committee recommended spending $6 million on additional prekindergarten classrooms using surplus money from the county’s budget. The full commission only approved half of the recommended amount.

The vote was 7-3 with commissioners Ford, Thomas and Billingsley voting against the plan, according to WREG.

Prekindergarten advocates have been pushing to provide more options for the approximately 15,000 low-income students under the age of five in Shelby County. After a failed ballot measure last fall, advocates have been pursuing a series of smaller strategies, such as the funding measure passed Monday. They hope the expanded prekindergarten efforts will ensure that all children are better prepared for kindergarten.