Arkansas’ Walton family is giving $4.3 million to sustain and expand Teach for America operations in Mississippi and Arkansas.

The program recruits aspiring teachers, mainly recent college graduates, to work for two years as teachers in underserved schools. The Waltons, heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune, have been giving money to Teach for America since 1993, with donations nearing $15 million.

The increase in funding will allow Teach for America to expand from 550 teachers in the two states to 582 this fall and 610 in 2014, said Walton Family Foundation spokeswoman Carrie McKnight.

“Teach For America is one of our most strategic partners in the effort to ensure all children in the Delta region have access to a quality education,” Kathy Smith, senior program officer for the foundation, said in a statement.

The majority of those teachers — 375 — were in Mississippi in the most recent year. Some Mississippi and Arkansas districts that have trouble recruiting teachers have become increasingly reliant on TFA to staff their schools.

“Teachers are in short supply here in the Delta, and, without TFA, there is no way we would be fully staffed,” said Lakeside Superintendent Joyce Vaught.

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