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Governor seeks $30 million in first step to Pre-K compliance

Governor Bev Perdue is calling on the General Assembly to come up with $30 million that will enable thousands of at-risk students to enroll in North Carolina’s pre-kindergarten program.

In a letter to legislative leaders, Perdue said Monday the state could serve an additional 6,300 at-risk children starting in January 2012.

The governor also released a plan from the Department of Health and Human Services that would add 9,000 more slots to the program each year, over the next four fiscal years.

Perdue said the first phase of the plan can be carried out by tapping $27 million in funds that are on the “bottom-line” after the close out of the Fiscal Year 2011 budget, and by using another $3 million from the Contingency and Emergency Fund.

The North Carolina Partnership for Children was quick to praise Governor Perdue’s plan to comply with Judge Howard Manning’s July order that all at-risk four-year-olds have access to the program formerly known as More at Four.

Stephanie Fanjul, president of  the partnership, recently told N.C. Policy Watch that four-year-olds would be at an extreme disadvantage following “devastating”  state budget cuts to the nationally-recognized program.

To hear Fanjul’s remarks click below. To read the governor’s full letter to legislative leaders, click here.

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