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Office of Education

We know that early childhood education is a critical piece of a child’s life. That’s why we’ve worked hard to find resources to preserve and expand pre-k seats. I can think of no better cause and use of our resources.

– Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris

As the 2019–2020 school year approached, Shelby County, Tenn., was set to lose 1,000 pre-k seats in dozens of classrooms due to the expiration of a multi-year federal Preschool Development Grant.

Shelby County government was determined not only to sustain the existing pre-k seats, but to expand high-quality pre-k. The county, together with community advocates and their partners at the City of Memphis, set out to give every low-income four-year old in the county access to a quality early childhood education by 2025. As of the end of the first quarter there were 199 at risk students enrolled in publicly funded Pre-K classrooms throughout Shelby County.  The overall average of daily attendance rate for those classes was 92% which means that 143 students had attended at least 90% of school days within the quarter.

Publicly Funded Classrooms


12345Total
Max Amount$750,000$750,000$750,000$3,710,000$2,040,000$8,000,000
Payment Release Date12/31/201903/31/201906/30/202009/30/202001/31/2021Payment to be Complete by 01/31/2021


Funds provided by Shelby County $1,500,000
- Supports 21 classrooms.
- $252,500 (17%) has been used during first quarter.