Garland County is committed to pre-K

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At a press conference yesterday, Garland County Schools announced big news in their efforts to expand access to quality pre-K in their area.

“The Dawson Education Cooperative in Arkadelphia has partnered with the Hot Springs, Cutter Morning Star, Lakeside, Fountain Lake, Mountain Pine, and Jessieville school districts to provide a preschool program for students in the Garland County area. The partnership, commonly referred to as the Garland County Pre-K Consortium, will be housed in the Hot Springs School District’s former Summit Alternative Learning Environment building at 220 Tom Ellsworth Drive. The program, made possible through an Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) grant, will serve a maximum of 120 3- and 4-year-old children,” states the press release.

The idea of Garland County pre-K expansion was formed during meetings of the Greater Hot Springs Education Council, co-chaired by Les Warren of Hot Springs Title Company and Dr. John Hogan of National Park College. The council also includes all seven Garland County school district superintendents; elected Garland County State Senators and Representatives; and is hosted by the Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce.

According to the most recent DHS data, there are 1,704 3- and 4-year-old children eligible for pre-K services in the area, with only 657 Head Start and ABC pre-K slots available.

In addition to serving more of our state’s kids with quality pre-K services, officials say the additional 120 slots will bring approximately 12-15 new jobs to the area and $600,000 in new revenue.

“This is a great opportunity for the families of Garland County,” says Hot Springs School District superintendent Dr. Mike Hernandez. “I think this is just the beginning of what we can do as an education community when we all work together.

Enrollment for Garland County Schools’ Pre-K for the new 2016-2017 school year slots is now open. For more info, contact Tanika Flannigan with the Dawson Co-op at (870) 246-3077, or email

Congratulations to everyone who helped bring Garland County pre-K expansion to fruition! And thank you for your commitment to providing quality pre-K to more of Arkansas’s kids.

More details can be found here and here.

Download the full press release here.

Members of the Greater Hot Springs Education Council, from left: District 26 State Representative Laurie Rushing; Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce CEO Les Warren; District 25 State Representative John Vines; Cutter Morning Star School District Superintendent Nancy Anderson; Hot Springs School District Superintendent Dr. Mike Hernandez; Lakeside School District Superintendent Shawn Cook; Dawson Education Services Cooperative Director Darin Beckwith; and District 24 State Representative Bruce Cozart.

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