State Readies For Pre-Kindergarten Storm

North Carolina educators are preparing for a massive influx of new pre-kindergarten students despite a 20 percent cut in state funding.

The state Department of Health and Human Services was working Wednesday to expand the program that prepares at-risk 4-year-olds for school. The department is telling local agencies administering the newly revamped program to accept anyone eligible, though no one knows the potential cost.

The program is expanding because of a judge's ruling last month about North Carolina's ability to educate the poor. Superior Court Judge Howard Manning decided there are twice as many at-risk 4-year-olds eligible in North Carolina for pre-K than were served last year. He says none can be turned away.

Legislative leaders say they don't expect to have to rewrite the nearly $20 billion state budget.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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