NC Pre-K expands in Beaufort County

Published 7:21 pm Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The North Carolina Pre-K Program underwent a slight expansion in Beaufort County for the 2017-18 school year.

Beaufort-Hyde Partnership for Children, which oversees the program’s implementation, received $66,150 in expansion funding from the state this year, which equates to nine additional pre-kindergarten slots in the county, according to program evaluator Becki Brinson.

Brinson said that brought the overall total for N.C. Pre-K in Beaufort County to 131 spots — 80 spots through Beaufort County Schools and 51 spots through Care-O-World Early Learning Center.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services administers the N.C. Pre-K Program statewide. N.C. Pre-K is open to eligible 4-year-olds and focuses on five developmental domains: approaches to play and learning; emotional and social development; health and physical development; language development and communication; and cognitive development, according to the DHHS website.

As of this year, there were 11 students on the waiting list to enroll in Beaufort County’s N.C. Pre-K Program, according to information provided by the office of Gov. Roy Cooper.

“Quality preschool programs are critical to long-term success for our children and our state. We must continue to make this opportunity available to more children,” Cooper said in a statement.

Legislators recently appropriated $27.3 million over a two-year period to help expand N.C. Pre-K’s services and cut down on waiting lists. The state estimates that an additional 1,800 4-year-olds are attending pre-kindergarten this year.

Greg Singleton, director of federal programs at BCS, said the school district receives its pre-K funding from other sources, as well.

Seventy pre-K slots are funded through the federal-level Title I program, and 30 slots are funded through the state- and federal-level Exceptional Children’s Program,” according to Singleton. The school district has a total of 180 slots across four schools.

“N.C. Pre K slots represent nearly half of the preschool slots in our school system,” he said. “While we blend all three programs, the qualifications for entry (vary) greatly according to program.”