Local schools add Pre-K classes with federal grant money

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Educators say Pre-K is an important part of a child's education, but because of the costs involved, not every child gets to attend.

With money from the federal Preschool Development Grant, Shelby County Schools and other Mid-South districts have added Pre-K classes in the last year.

“It's really important to know that this is gonna be available for her and for all of the young children coming up,” said parent Ginny Renfroe, whose already thinking about the educational opportunities that await her infant daughter.

Shelby County Schools told WREG they've already added 33 Pre-K classes to their roster.

“That’s well over 600 children who would not have had the opportunity had we not got a Preschool Development Grant,” said Deanna McClendon.

Meanwhile, Bartlett City Schools have added a third Pre-K class to the two they previously offered.

“We all want them to be able to read at third-grade level when they get to the third grade, and that really only generally happens if we get to them early,” said Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald.

SCS currently offers Pre-K classes to around 5,300 students.

They're currently looking at other grants that would allow them to offer it to more students.

“My dream would always be that for every student that would be coming into kindergarten, that would like to, that they, in turn, would be able to sit in one of our Pre-K seat,” said McClendon.