The process of local communities applying for grants to participate in a state-sponsored pre-kindergarten program begins this week.
The collaborative groups wanting to participate in the program must notify the state Department of Education of their intent by Wednesday. The state Board of Education is scheduled to announce the groups awarded grants on Dec. 19.
The Mississippi Legislature created the pre-kindergarten pilot program during the 2013 session and appropriated $3 million for the effort. Before the 2013 legislation, Mississippi was the only Southeastern state and one of only a handful in the nation not expending any state funds on early childhood education.
If the pilot program is deemed a success, supporters of early childhood education are expected to try to increase funding for the effort. The Legislature is asking for funding for the program to be doubled to $6 million in 2014.