Gov. Deal agrees to full day pre-K for his education proposal

Gov. Nathan Deal agreed to amend his proposal to restore a 6.5 hours pre-K day for four year olds.

The measure will reduce the number of school days from 180 to 160 and change class size from 20 to 22, with a maximum of 11 to 1 ratio.

Similar to the HOPE scholarship, the pre-K grant is awarded through lottery-funded slots, applied for by parents.

The governor has proposed sweeping changes to the popular pre-k and HOPE programs, which are growing faster than the lottery revenues that support them.

The changes to HOPE including smaller scholarships for all but the very brightest college students appeared on the fast track to legislative approval late last week.

Due to declining lottery revenues, cuts to education and skyrocketing college fees and tuition, HOPE faces a $243 million budget shortfall and cash reserves are projected to run out by 2013.

But the plan for pre-k, mainly cutting the school day from 6.5 hours to 4 hours, found critics in every camp — lawmakers, advocates, teachers and parents.

Under the revised plan, pre-k will remain a 6.5 hours a day program and to expand to include 2,000 additional students in the fall.

In this article