published Monday, March 7th, 2011

Gov. Deal to scale back Georgia pre-kindergarten cuts

ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal is revamping plans to cut the state’s prekindergarten program back to half-day after an outcry from parents and teachers.

Deal announced today that the program will remain a full day but the school year will be cut from 180 days to 160 days. He also will expand class sizes by two students each.

The moves will allow the state to cut $54 million while adding 10,000 slots to the pre-k program, which has a waiting list at least that long.

The cuts are part of Deal’s plan to keep lottery-funded programs — pre-k and the HOPE scholarship — from going broke.

Georgia was the first state to offer free full-day pre-k to any 4-year-old, but demand for the program has outgrown revenue from the lottery.

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