HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It used to be only some Texas schools were able to afford half-day Pre-K, but now thanks to new legislation, the state is offering to fund full-day Pre-K at all public schools.
Educators and parents ABC13 talked with say it's a big benefit.
"I think it's good for parents who need to work to have full-day options," says parent Kristin Ghia.
Thao Montemayor says "I know it's really stressful for some of my friends to find a good program to send their kids off to."
This is part of a multi-billion dollar overhaul to the state's school finance system. Part of it pays for full day Pre-K for low income and other qualifying students across Texas.
Educators in Houston say not only does it help parents who work full time and are trying to find childcare, but it's a cheaper option, as private childcare can cost thousands of dollars.
"Childcare is very expensive," says Jonathan Parker with the Harris County Department of Education.
Several Houston-area school districts already have full day Pre-K, but it'll also be a first for some.
"The low income districts would benefit from this type of program, once again, that allows parents to be able to work, and of course that extra income helps the family tremendously," Parker said.
Educators add this lets more students get a head start on their education.
"Pre-K allows students to begin to start developing and understanding the routines of school," Parker said.
Parker expects to see most of the 25 districts in Harris County to adopt a full day Pre-K program.
HISD offers both free Pre-K and tuition based Pre-K.
Many of the larger districts, like Katy, Ft. Bend, Aldine and Pasadena now offer full day Pre-K.
There are some requirements though for children to enroll into it for free:
- Inability to speak English
- Must be eligible for free lunch program
- Child of active duty service member
- Child of a member of Armed Forces who was killed or injured
- In or have been in custody of DFPS
- Child of a first responder who was killed or injured