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Jefferson Parish Council Approves $225,000 in Early Childhood Education Funds

The Jefferson Parish Council approved $225,000 towards early childhood education during the June 9 Council meeting. The funding stream, which was spearheaded by Councilman Scott Walker, will result in 16 new seats for low-income families to enroll in high-quality early childhood education for the 2021-22 school year. State matching will kick-in to double the funds and increase the total number of new seats to 32.

“High-quality early childhood education has a significant impact on a child’s success in school and life, and teaches them the skills they need to enter kindergarten ready to learn,” said Dr. James Gray, Superintendent of Jefferson Parish Schools. “By investing in our youngest learners, we are investing in the future of Jefferson Parish.”

The funds will be distributed through Jefferson Parish Schools as the lead agency for the Jefferson Ready Start Network, which is a collaborative of early childhood and community stakeholders working to improve the quality of and access to early childhood education.

According to the Jefferson Ready Start Network, there are more than 21,000 children from birth to age five in Jefferson Parish who come from economically disadvantaged families. However, only 4,000 of those children are served by publicly funded seats for early childhood education.

In addition to high-quality learning, students enrolled in a Jefferson Parish Schools PK-4 program will receive nutrition services, bus transportation within their school's attendance zone and access to before/after care.

The next cycle of applications to enroll in early childhood education is tentatively set to open on Tuesday, June 22. The application process includes publicly funded seats at more than 60 early childcare centers and 52 pre-K4 programs in Jefferson Parish Schools. For more information on early childhood education programs and to apply, visit jeffersonchild.com.