• Early Education

After publishing the Leaving Last in Line, our issue brief advocating a collaborative method of providing pre-K services to four-year-olds using state dollars, we still had a lot of unanswered questions about current pre-K provision in our state’s communities. For example, which providers offer full-day or pre-K for four-year-olds? What qualifications do pre-K teachers hold? What type of curricula or assessments are providers using? What is the average cost-per-child of pre-K in Mississippi? What collaboration do providers engage in, if any?

This report seeks to clarify the practices of school districts using federal Title I dollars to pay for pre-K.

Major Takeaways

34% (51 of 152) of Mississippi school districts budgeted a combined $12,419,196.40 in Title I dollars for pre-K services in the 2011-2012 school year.

Widespread Provision of Classroom-based Pre-K

A total of 44% (67 of 152) of school districts provide classroom-based pre-K, whether during the school year or in the summer. 72% (48 of 67) of these districts do so with Title I dollars, while the remaining 28% (19 of 67) do so without Title I.

Existing Collaborative Efforts

Blended Head Start classrooms (10 districts) are a great example of public school-Head Start collaboration that meets the framework of Mississippi First’s collaborative delivery model. We were also surprised by the number of districts (22) that host independent Head Start classrooms onsite at their elementary schools. Finally, a majority of districts engage in shared professional development and curriculum alignment with Head Start and childcare centers.

Cost-Per-Child and Cost-Per-Classroom

Cost-per-child and cost-per-classroom figures could be calculated only for districts that provided either their number of classes or their number of available spaces in their CFPAs. These calculations should be interpreted with extreme caution, as explained in the pages of the preliminary report.


Rachel Canter

Executive Director

Rachel Canter is the Executive Director of Mississippi First and author of additional Mississippi First reports, including Leaving Last in Line, the State of Pre-K series, and Nothing in the Pipes: Educator Crisis in Mississippi (2020). Rachel founded Mississippi First in 2008.