Last year the district offered pre-kindergarten classes to 14,500 students. This year with two new early childhood education centers and additional money from the general fund, District Superintendent Dr. Abe Saavedra says they plan to add room for 1,000 more preschool students.
Unlike in the past, this year the district will accept every eligible four-year-old into its preschool program. Children who are eligible for the free or reduced cost lunch program and children who have English language deficiencies all qualify for the free preschool classes. Saavedra says the district should have enough capacity to handle the expected influx of students.
HISD Board President Diane Johnson says experience shows that an early start in education leads to more successful students and that's why it's so important to make sure economically disadvantaged children have access to preschool.
The district plans to continue to expand its pre-k services over the course of the next several years. HISD is urging parents to get contact their local elementary school to sign up children for preschool classes before the start of school.