TUSCALOOSA, Alabama – Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox presented the Tuscaloosa City Schools Board of Education with a $39,000 check from the proceeds of the 2016 Mayor’s Cup at a meeting Tuesday evening.
This year’s 10th Annual Mayor’s Cup for Pre-K raised the most funds in the event’s history, which totals more than $210,000 over 10 years.
“I can’t imagine a time where the partnership between the city and the city school has ever been stronger,” Maddox said. “This is exciting because we have raised a lot of good money to go into the classrooms. We have also raised awareness about how impressive Pre-K is.”
During his inaugural address in 2005, Maddox established the core belief that all academically at-risk four-year-old children deserve the opportunity for a highly effective pre-k education. Within weeks, he worked with City Council and other organizations to establish the Pre-K Task Force. The effort has now evolved into the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative.
The Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative consists of 21 Pre-K classroom units across nine Tuscaloosa City elementary schools. The initiative serves more than 250 at-risk TCS preschoolers.
Maddox says early education is vital to the well-being of students. He says he hopes to give every at-risk student the opportunity to attend a Pre-K program by the time he leaves office.
“We need children reading to learn instead of learning to read by the time they get to third grade,” Maddox said. “Pre-K is one of the best ways to make that happen, especially among our academically at-risk.”
He says if a child is not reading on grade level by fourth grade, there is more than a 70 percent chance they will not graduate high school.
“We need every tool available to get that child a chance to succeed,” Maddox said. “I believe the Tuscaloosa Pre-K initiative does just that.”