The Dallas Independent School District is making it easier for families to qualify for the free pre-kindergarten program.
For children to be admitted to DISD's Pre-K program for free, children must be 3- or 4-years-old before Sept. 1 and meet one of the following criteria set forth by the state:
- Be unable to speak and comprehend the English language
- Be educationally disadvantaged, which means a student eligible to participate in the national free or reduced-price lunch program
- Be homeless, as defined by 42 United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 1143a, regardless of the residence of the child, of either parent of the child, or of the child's guardian or other person having lawful control of the child
- Be the child of an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who is ordered to active duty by proper authority;
- Be the child of a member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who was injured or killed while serving on active duty;
- Be in, or have been in, the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) following an adversary hearing held as provided by Section 262.201, Family Code;
- Be the child of a person eligible for the Star of Texas Award as a peace officer (3106.002), firefighter (3106.003), or emergency medical first responder (3106.004).
To make the free admission process easier, the DISD will increase the income limits for families and provide scholarships to increase the number of children ages 3 and 4 who can attend pre-kindergarten at no cost.
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The scholarship program was approved by the Dallas ISD School Board in June to "address structural racial inequalities and provide lasting benefits to more families."
"It is an advantage for the district and our students to enroll as many students as possible in our pre-kindergarten program," said Leslie Williams, deputy head of the Office of Racial Equity. "The data indicates that when students participate in our pre-kindergarten program, they have considerable success in later years."
The district expects that at least 200 students will take advantage of this scholarship program next school year.
Tuition-based Pre-K is available for $5,250 per year, or $525 per month on a 10-month payment schedule.