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Memphis Council backs Pre-K but still unsure on funding sources

December 20, 2017
Ryan Poe
Commercial Appeal

The Memphis City Council voted Tuesday to support quality, countywide, needs-based pre-Kindergarten, but without determining what that means in terms of dollars and cents.

The council voted 11-0 in support of the non-binding resolution, which commits the council to finding the funding to save the 1,000 local pre-K classroom seats threatened by the end of a $7.9 million federal preschool development grant in May 2019.

Shelby County has 7,420 pre-K seats currently and is aiming for 8,500 seats.

Funding universal pre-K is not only an economic development imperative but a “moral” one, the council’s resolution reads. Council members Kemp Conrad and Patrice Robinson, as well as council chairman Berlin Boyd, sponsored the resolution, which also had the support of Mayor Jim Strickland.

The council resolved “that this Council, in concert with City administration, intends, between now and April of 2018, prior to the passage of the FY2019 City Budget, to identify a material investment in funding for pre-K to make up for this urgent and imminent loss of pre-K seats,” the document reads.