North Carolina Gov. Beverly Purdue issued an executive order on Wednesday requiring the state to accept all eligible 4-year-olds into its pre-kindergarten program for at-risk children. The order also calls for the program to maintain the same standards for teachers and goals for students as the program previously known as More at Four.
More at Four was a casualty of the state’s budget process; the program was renamed, reduced in funds, and its governance was shifted from the state’s education agency to its health and human services division.
Purdue’s order did not specify how the increase in services would be funded.
“If the funds that the General Assembly has provided are insufficient to cover the constitutional mandate for these services, I will call upon the legislature to appropriate additional funds to meet our obligation,” Perdue said in a press release. “However, if additional funds become necessary for NC Pre-K, the General Assembly must not inflict further cuts on other educational programs.”
That is likely to reignite the budget battle in the legislature.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.