Mississippi's first pre-K program moves forward

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The state's first pre-K program is moving forward. The Mississippi Department of Education will start dispersing nearly $3 million in February to help bring more quality education to pre-schoolers. Eleven groups across the state are receiving a big chunk of that money.

It's is all part of the state's first voluntary Pre-K program, the Early Learning Collaborative Act which passed last year. Leaders at the Department of Education tell WLOX News the 11 districts that were awarded grants will start receiving money in the coming weeks. Three of those are in south Mississippi - the Lamar County Early Learning Collaborative, the Petal Early Learning Collaborative, and the Picayune school district. Collectively, those districts will receive a little more than a million dollars over the next three years.

According to the Department of Education, the money will be used to help establish, expand or improve early learning opportunities in those districts. Education leaders are hoping the state legislature will allocate more money again this year, especially because there were so many other deserving districts which applied for grant money.

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