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Counties Project Enrollment of More than 4,000 Students in Pre-K Immediately using New Funding

DHHS survey results show local enthusiasm, four times the anticipated enrollment

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
For Release: Immediate
Date: October 26,2012
Contact: Chrissy Pearson, 919-855-4840

RALEIGH – Results from a survey of counties by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) show that with the new state funding pledged by Governor Bev Perdue last week, local NC Pre-K coordinators may be able to enroll more than 4,000 children by the end of November.

State officials earlier estimated at least 1,000 children could be immediately enrolled using the $20 million in additional funds the governor allocated for the NC Pre-K program. Up to 6,300 children were projected to be served by January of next year.

“The overwhelming response from the counties has been yes, we have at-risk children on our waiting lists now and we have the capacity to put them in classrooms right away,” said DHHS Secretary Al Delia. “Collectively counties all seem to understand that time is ticking away for these children. Once the school year is over they will enter kindergarten, and we will have missed our opportunity to better prepare these kids for school.”

DHHS officials are in the process of identifying how many counties can potentially serve children immediately, so funds can be allocated appropriately. The $20 million comes from funds within the Department projected to be unspent. None of the money is taken from early childhood education programs and no services will be cut or affected. The funding breakdown as expected may be from the following sources:

  • $5.5 million from indirect costs earned throughout the Department;
  • $1 million in lapsed salary funds;
  • $5 million from the AIDS Drug Assistance Program from within the Division of Public Health;
  • $6 million from the Early Intervention program within the Division of Public Health; and
  • $2.5 million from Foster Care services within the Division of Social Services.

Note that each of these figures is based upon projected availability as of October 2012. DHHS will continue to review these amounts and other areas of the budget throughout the fiscal year. As a result of this review and based upon actual spending, resources to support this effort may be adjusted at a later date.

“Now that we are well into the fiscal year, we have been able to identify areas that are trending toward not requiring all of the funding the General Assembly budgeted,” said Secretary Delia. “We specifically identified monies that would not negatively affect any service programs existing in the Department.”

Authorization for reallocating Department funds comes from NCGS 143C-6-4(b)(2)a., which permits an agency to spend more than authorized for a program if the expenditure is required by a court order. In August, the North Carolina Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed a lower court ruling mandating the State not deny any eligible “at-risk” four year old admission to the North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten Program.

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