MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama School Readiness Alliance announced Wednesday that schools, faith-based and private childcare centers, universities and community organizations can apply for up to $125,000 to establish a new Alabama First Class Pre-K classroom for 2023-24.

The funds support pay parity for staff, a new classroom package, curriculum/assessment resources, technology and field trips. The funding application is available online via the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education’s website. The application’s deadline is March 17.

First Class Pre-K is Alabama’s state-funded voluntary pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds. About 45% of Alabama’s four-year-olds are enrolled in the program. The number of new classrooms awarded for 2023-24 depends on the additional funding approved for the program by the Alabama Legislature.