Memphis City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to expand pre-kindergarten in Shelby County.
“This is kind of the end of road,” said Memphis City Council Chairmen Kemp Conrad. “We’ve really been working on this since 2017.”
Negotiations between city and county leaders have led to a plan to double the amount of pre-k seats available to Shelby County children.
The ordinance would provide more that $16 million in funding. Chairman Conrad said the ordinance serves a dual purpose. One, it would make pre-k available to students who qualify. Secondly, it would ensure students are reading at the right level once they enter elementary school.
“It’s not pre-k in a vacuum,” he said. “This is about cradle to career and about a $30 million in an annual plan with seating for success to make sure that our children get to third grade ready to read and ready to learn.”
Following Tuesday’s vote, the ordinance now goes to the Shelby County Commission for a final vote that will take place on March 25. If commissioners give the green light, the next step is securing bids for a group to oversee and manage the system.
The county and city will select a fiscal agent to oversee and distribute the money for the pre-K agent which will be selected at a later date.