County expands pre-K classes
Ask and you will receive.
Well, it may not always happen but in the case of elementary school principals in Georgetown County, their requests for full day pre-kindergarten classes is being granted.
School District Superintendent Dr. Randy Dozier said this week the state is funding full-day classes at the five elementary schools that have not had them previously.
Dozier said Monday the district will receive about $900,000 for the full-day pre-k classes to begin at Kensington, Maryville, Pleasant Hill, Sampit and Waccamaw elementary schools.
The full-day classes have already been offered at Browns Ferry, Plantersville, Andrews and McDonald elementary schools.
Earlier this year when principals were presenting their needs lists to the school board for consideration during the budget process, having full-day classes for 4-year-olds was a wish expressed repeatedly
Dozier said five additional teachers and five teacher’s aides will need to be hired for the new positions.
“There are plenty of candidates out there,” Dozier said.
He also said “minor renovations” will need to be made to some classrooms to get them ready for the new students.
Dozier thanked state lawmakers for securing the funds for the classes. In particular, he said State Rep. Carl Anderson worked hard for the money.
Anderson said statewide $23 million has been allocated for the expansion.
He said one reason full-day pre-k classes are needed is because it is hard for working parents when their child is in school for only half a day.
Dozier did caution this is “one-time money” the district is receiving. If the state does not designate the funding again for the upcoming years, the district will have to find ways to pay for the classes within its budget.
At a school board meeting earlier this year, Waccamaw Elementary principal Vervatine Reid said having full-time classes would help create students who are more ready for the district’s Common Core curriculum.
Patti Hammel, the district’s executive director of Student Performance and Federal Programs, said there will be 340 students in 17 full-day classes across the district. Each class will have a maximum of 20 students.
She said Browns Ferry and Plantersville will continue with only one full-day class because they do not have enough students to require a second class.
Andrews Elementary will have three classes and the other schools will have two classes.
She said students began testing in March and those that have qualified will attend the full-day classes.
By Scott Harper
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