State's Pre-K Program Spending Unlikely To Change Soon

A top North Carolina legislative budget-writer says there are no immediate plans to address preschool spending for at-risk 4-year-olds because litigation on the state's program is running through the courts.

Republican Sen. Richard Stevens of Cary made the comments Wednesday after an advocacy group held a news conference urging lawmakers to fulfill Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue's request to spend $30 million to teach another 6,300 preschoolers starting in January.

Rob Thompson with the Covenant with North Carolina's Children says legislators should act when they return to work later this month.

Perdue said her request was the first step toward fulfilling a judge's ruling that struck down some North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten budget provisions. Perdue says needy children cannot be turned away from the program.

State attorneys are appealing the ruling.

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An advocacy group dedicated to children's issues in North Carolina wants legislative budget-writers to comply with a judge's ruling by setting aside more money now to provide preschool to at-risk 4-year-olds.

The Covenant with North Carolina's Children scheduled a news conference Wednesday morning in front of the Legislative Building just before an appropriations committee is to meet. The group wants to build pressure on the Legislature to assist the North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten program before January.

A Wake County judge struck down provisions in this year's budget involving Pre-K and said needy children can't be turned away. Gov. Beverly Perdue offered a plan last month that would require $30 million to teach another 6,300 preschooolers.

State attorneys representing legislative leaders are appealing the ruling.

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