Harris: Shelby County to allocate $6 million for early childhood education

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. —Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris announced the county has allocated $6 million in the upcoming budget for early childhood education.

If approved, this would be one of the largest investments in pre-K funding in county history, the mayor said.

“We have a chance to increase literacy, the likelihood of high school graduation, and, further down the road, employability,” says Mayor Lee Harris. “We have a chance to ignite a boom in community benefit.”

According to the mayor, Shelby County received grant money in 2014 to help pay for 50 classrooms and enroll 1,000 students. That funding will be coming to an end on June 30.

Last year Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced the city would be partnering with the county and school system. Using money from expiring tax incentives and equivalent revenues from one cent of the current property tax rate, the city will put the money to a pre-K fund. At the time, the city said this will generate $6 million plus millions of dollars from the county and school system totaling $16 million.

We now know that the county will be allocating $6 million of their budget into this plan.

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