HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - As the director of Federal Programs and Early Childhood Education for the Hattiesburg Public School District, Carrie Hornsby believes the most important stage of education is in early childhood.
“We have to make sure these kids are prepared in order to be graduating at the age of 18 and then determining a career or college they want to attend,” Hornsby said.
Hornsby said preparation starts in one of the many pre-K programs of the Hattiesburg Early Learning Collaborative.
“Which is a partnership between Hattiesburg Public Schools, PRVO Head Start and three local child care centers,” Hornsby said.
Hornsby said supporting the education of pre-K children takes funding.
“In January of 2019, we received a $2.1 million grant for the Hattiesburg Early Learning Collaborative,” Hornsby said.
She said that money is supplying curriculum, even chrome books for each child and desktops for 329 students in 18 classes, but it’s not covering everything, so they are looking to the public for help.
“There’s an incentive that businesses or individuals can donate up to a million, if they wanted to go that far, to get a tax credit,” Hornsby said.
She said if you choose to donate to the collaborative, you will get a certificate from the Mississippi Department of Education. You would give that certificate to your tax preparer for a tax credit, and the kids of the collaborative get the essentials they need to make sure they are kindergarten ready.
“Those funds that we could get from the tax credit could be used to expand our program to pick up more child care centers around the city of Hattiesburg and affect more children," Hornsby said. "We’re looking at maybe having a book truck to go out in the community, and give books out to the kids and teach parents how to read effectively with their kids. And all of that would, the money from the tax credit, would allow us to do that.”
If you would like to donate to the collaborative and learn more about the tax credit, Hornsby said contact her or the project supervisor for the grant, Nancy Magee, by phone at 601-582-5078. Or you can mail your donations to the Hattiesburg Public School District at 301 Mamie street.