Moody Early Childhood Center is seeking to become an in-district charter school under a new state law that could bring more funding to the quickly-expanding program, officials said.

Galveston Independent School District’s Board of Trustees recently approved a request for the center to apply for an in-district charter designation under Senate Bill 1882.

The bill, which was passed by Texas legislators in 2017, allows campuses to apply to be an in-district charter school in which a partner entity — in this case the Moody Foundation — operates the campus.

If Moody Early Childhood Center is approved under the new statute, the school would be eligible to receive more state funding, and it would allow educators to operate all programs at the campus, said Karin Miller, school leader for the center.

“It will start at six weeks and go all the way through prekindergarten 3, which is what we set out to do when we opened the center back in 2016,” said Betty Massey, board president of the Moody Early Childhood Center.

The potential designation comes at a critical time for the center, which has been expanding each year since opening in late August 2016, Miller said.

The center opened with the intention of providing early education to Galveston children, especially those from economically disadvantaged families.

Through grants, the center provides about $17,000 in scholarships each month to families who couldn’t otherwise afford to send their children, Miller said.

The campus is divided into the Moody Early Childhood Center and the San Jacinto Early Childhood Center, which is a prekindergarten 3 program operated through the school district.

Pre-K 3 provides learning to children who are 3 years old on or before Sept. 1.

But if the center is approved as an in-district charter school, all programming would fall under the Moody Early Childhood, Miller said.

“We want it to be a smooth transition from early childhood to pre-K 3 for the students,” Miller said.

The transition also would help the Moody Foundation seek out other grant opportunities to cover funding, Miller said.

If approved under the statute, the school also would receive increased funding for its average daily attendance, Miller said.

The average daily attendance helps determine how much funding a school district or, in this case, school gets from the state.

School officials hope to expand the program by about 200 students, which will include an additional 11 classrooms, Miller said.

On June 19, the district’s board approved the proposal, and it is now being reviewed by officials with the Texas Education Agency, who will either approve it or send it back for negotiations, Superintendent Kelli Moulton said.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com

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