News Staff Report
During a May 12 Board of Education called meeting, Escambia County Superintendent of Education Michele McClung revealed more details on the Alabama First-Class Pre-K program that is set for implementation in January in the A.C. Moore Elementary School building.
The state-funded program, which is cost-free and voluntary, is for youngsters who will be age 4 on September 1. McClung told BOE members that state education officials have allocated $125,000 for each of six 18-child units, or classes. State guidelines call for a teacher and a teacher’s aide for each unit.
The superintendent reported during the meeting that officials hope at least 100 4-year-olds will be pre-registered in the near future. Through May 12, parents and guardians of 60 youngsters had pre-registered their child or children.
McClung also reported that there are no school-district zoning restrictions for participation in the free program, which will follow a prescribed literacy and numeracy curriculum. Youngsters from anywhere in the county can attend if parents provide transportation to and from daily sessions.
Pre-registration for the early childhood learning program can be conducted in two ways:
*Parents or guardians who do not have access to a computer, phone, tablet or other electronic device, or those who might need help with the application, can drop by Rachel Patterson Elementary School (at the intersection of Craig Street and Rockaway Creek Road) or the school system’s Atmore Central Office (located on the grounds of the former YMCA building on Pensacola Avenue).
*Those with access to a computer or other device can visit prek.alaceed.alabama.gov and follow the prompts to the pre-k pre-registration applications.
A copy of each child’s birth certificate mut be presented when pre-registering, as well as proof of Escambia County, Ala. residency (current utility bill; copy of lease or mortgage). If the child’s name is drawn June 7, a copy of his or her immunization record must also be provided before the child can participate.
A random drawing from all applications received will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, at A.C. Moore (501 Beck Street) to determine which children will be accepted into the local program.
The school board also learned the venerable school building, which has remained mostly vacant since consolidation led to its closure in 2017, will need a new roof. on the part of the building housing the new classes. Shaun Goolsby, deputy of operations for the school system, said the shingle roof had a second shingle roof placed on top of it. Both will have to be removed and replaced with a new roof.
Chief School Financial Officer Julie Madden told BOE members no local money will be required to pay for the new roof. She said funding will come from this year’s Administration for Children & Families (ACF) allocation, money that must be spent by September 2023 or returned.
The board then voted unanimously to enter into an owner-architect agreement with Montgomery-based PH&J Architects to provide architectural services for the project.