In a moment of bipartisan agreement, North Carolina lawmakers could eliminate the waiting list for free preschool in their budget negotiations this year.
That would be huge news for thousands of parents across the state. Last year, nearly 5,000 children were on a waiting list for NC Pre-K, the state-run program that prepares 4-year-olds for school.
Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican who is the vice-chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said that if the House budget passes then it will create enough new classroom seats so that no children are turned down.
“The waiting list for Pre-K is over in the House budget,” he said.
It initially looked like Lewis was using some funny math to come to that conclusion, but state budget officials said his estimates were accurate, and PolitiFact NC rated the claim True.
And what about the bipartisan angle?
If this provision ends up becoming law after the N.C. General Assembly finished its budget negotiations, it would also fulfill a campaign promise that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper made last year.
Cooper said he would work to expand NC Pre-K. It serves military families, low-income families and families whose children have special needs or other “at-risk” circumstances.
PolitiFact NC has rated that promise In The Works for now, on its Coop-O-Meter, and Cooper’s proposal is the same as the House’s.
Email: truthometer@PolitiFact.com; Twitter: @PolitiFactNC
Speaker: Rep. David Lewis
Statement: “The waiting list for Pre-K is over in the House budget.”
Ruling: Lewis is correct, although the budget hasn’t been finalized yet. We rate this claim True.