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April 25, 2005
Melanie Mowry Etters
Tallahassee, FL- The Department of Education has received information from 49 of 59 eligible school districts about offering Voluntary Prekindergarten this fall. To date, 38 local school districts are planning to partner with their local Early Learning Coalition by offering the VPK school-year program for 15,535 four-year-olds, which is 10 percent of the expected statewide demand for VPK in the upcoming school year. Eleven eligible districts will not be offering VPK.
Several larger districts have asked for more time to determine whether they will participate in the program. Some of their decisions hinge on how much money the legislature appropriates for the program during the final days of the session. DOE had asked districts to respond by this past weekend if they were planning to participate.
Education Commissioner John Winn said, "I'm pleased that school districts are able to meet more than 15,000 VPK slots that otherwise may not have been available to parents for the school-year program. These are preliminary estimates that may not have yet been approved by local school boards."
The state is expecting 154,597 four-year-olds to attend the school-year VPK program in the fall.
The district and coalition information is linked below.