A total of 81 school districts across the state will get $340 million to fund full-day pre-K, according to the Governor’s Office.
The funding in this year's state budget is the first installment in a commitment to spend $1.5 billion over five years to build a statewide program. Among the districts receiving funding: Rensselaer City School district ($200K), Lansingburgh ($340K), Amsterdam ($935K), Gloversville ($1.04M), Broadalbin-Perth ($597K), Fort Plain ($327K), Germantown ($380K) and the Kids Express Learning Center ($539K) associated with the North Colonie district. The awards are subject to review by the state comptroller.
"Training and educating young minds is one of the smartest investments we can make as a State, as studies demonstrate that pre-kindergarten has a long lasting, positive influence on our children's education and future success," Governor Cuomo said in a statement. "The State Budget this year included a major investment in early education, putting New York State on the path to become just the fourth state in the nation to establish universal full day pre-K. The awards we are announcing today will enable tens of thousands of children to attend pre-K classes, and represent another step in the State's work to prepare our students to compete in the 21st century economy."
This program represents the largest expansion of Full-Day Pre-Kindergarten in New York State history and is additive to the existing $385 million in UPK funding and the $25 million Full-Day Pre-Kindergarten program proposed and enacted by Governor Cuomo in 2013-14.
OTHER STATEMENTS FROM PRESS RELEASE
Senate Majority Co-Leader Jeff Klein: “Our commitment to fully fund universal pre-k marks an historic turning point in the education legacy of New York. By supporting great programs like these, we ensure that our youngest citizens will have access to the high-quality preschool education they deserve starting this September."
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver: "For more than 17 years, the Assembly Majority has championed universal pre-K. New York’s children are our most precious asset and our greatest hope for future economic success. We must increase access to quality programs that can result in the long-term academic achievement each and every one of our children needs and deserves. To do this, we must deliver significant, recurring and sustainable funding to expand high quality, full-day early learning programs in every region of the state. I thank Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio who have been willing partners and strong advocates as we take this important step in the ongoing fight to give all young children the opportunity to grow and thrive here in New York.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: "We are proud to have Governor Cuomo as a strong partner in making Pre-K for All a reality for the children of New York City. This funding represents a powerful commitment by the State to build a new, stronger education foundation that will transform our schools. We are working tirelessly to make good on this opportunity to deliver new pre-K options, improve existing ones and build a high-quality system that lifts up every child."
New York State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr.: "New York is making a major investment in early childhood education, and that investment will pay dividends for decades. The Board of Regents has advocated for pre-K for years. Now the vision and commitment of Governor Cuomo and the legislature will help make universal pre-k a reality and help many thousands of children and families build brighter futures. Obviously, there's still work to do. The path to high quality universal pre-k will take a few years, but it’s the right thing to do for our children and our State."
Robert Reidy, executive director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents: “Children who struggle in school and fall behind need time to catch-up. Our best strategy is to give children that extra time and help at the start of their schooling – so that they never get behind. The full-day kindergarten program will help more schools provide a better start for more of our children. The program addresses an urgent need in our schools and we will work with state leaders to ensure it fulfills that promise.”
Timothy Kremer, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association: “The importance of early childhood education cannot be overstated. Providing early learning opportunities for three- and four-year old children can help them develop better literacy skills and set the foundation for a successful transition into K-12 education. We look forward to the day when all school districts are providing robust learning experiences for all of our young learners.”