"NC Pre-K is a nationally recognized, academic program that helps prepare children to succeed in kindergarten, throughout school and in life," Perdue said. "This additional investment in our children will pay big dividends for all North Carolina because these children will be less likely to fall behind and drop out later in life."
The governor said over $9 million will allow "at risk 4-year-olds" to attend NC Pre-K.
The children would attend NC Pre-K from mid-March through mid-August, and then enter Kindergarten. According to the governor, administrators have a process in place to determine which children will be placed in the programs.
She said about 67,000 are eligible for the Pre-K program each year, but there's only funding for just under 25,000, plus the newly-announced 2,000.
"All children in North Carolina, regardless of where they live, deserve a chance at a successful future and we know that NC Pre-K changes lives," Perdue said. "We have one shot to give these children the benefit of Pre-K. They can't wait, and we can't either."
The additional funding for the 2,000 new slots will come from childcare subsidy funds on a one-time basis to meet the urgent need of at-risk children who are not currently served by NC Pre-K.
Perdue toured Happy Face Preschool following Wednesday's announcement. While there, she acknowledged the chance of a pushback from the General Assembly, after she demanded action from them last week.
"But at the end of the day, regardless of what their reaction is, there will be 2,000 children who by Aug. 15 will have the preparation they need to start Kindergarten prepared," Perdue said.