BATON ROUGE- More than 1,600 parents are expecting to find out where their 4-year olds will go to school next year, following a new lottery program that will place children in the Parish's Pre-K program.
The program, funded by federal grants, puts 4-year olds in the classroom for six hours of learning a day and even offers a meal program.
For parents, it's an important head start in their children's lives.
"You hear that kids that are in Pre-K typically do much better than kids who aren't exposed, plus the social exposure around other kids helps them out with people skills at a younger age," said Evan Hopkins, whose daughter, Ryleigh, will start Pre-K next year.
In the past, parents had to wait in line on a first come, first served basis, to get their kids placed in the Pre-K program. After complaints, the school system changed it up, and implemented a lottery system, offering parents a first and second choice of schools.
This year, 1,622 families applied and 1,500 of those were assigned one of their top two schools. The remaining did not select a second choice.
There's still 500 seats available in the program and those parents who wish to apply can do so on February 20th. Your child must be four years old on or before September 30th to be eligible for the program.