New State Money More than Doubles Pre-K Attendance

FEBRUARY 20, 2006 - Posted at 8:05 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Tens of millions of taxpayer dollars pumped into pre-kindergarten classes for youngsters from low-income families has extended the program to all 75 counties.  As a result, the number of students in the classes has more than doubled in just two years, from 7,665 in 2003-2004 to 18,458 this year.

But Paul Kelly, senior policy analyst for the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, says another 15,000 children are eligible for the program who aren't attending because they don't have one in their community.  He says that number could be trimmed if legislators add another $40 million to the effort in next year's legislative session.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)