CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Underserved children who take part in early education are more likely to stay in school, attend college, and have higher earnings, according to CMS.

Now, more than half of the children in Mecklenburg County entering kindergarten are enrolled in public prekindergarten according to a presentation at a joint meeting between CMD and Mecklenburg County Commissioners. 

Nearly 6,000 students are enrolled through the three public pre-K programs in Mecklenburg County.

The county’s goal is to have 80 percent of children entering kindergarten go through free pre-K.

Along with increasing capacity, the school district wants to have a universal application and screening among the three early education programs and, potentially, share classes and funding.

“We know that there are children out here that we are not reaching. We know that this is a necessary program,” Owner and Executive Director of Dixon Academy Roslyn Dixon said. 

Meck Pre-K has proposed expanding its capacity by another 600 students next school year.