Governor Murphy Announces State Funding to Provide High-Quality Pre-K in 28 Additional School Districts
More Than 1,400 Additional Children in New Jersey to Benefit from Preschool Expansion
UNION CITY – Continuing the largest expansion in high-quality preschool that New Jersey has seen in decades, Governor Phil Murphy today announced 28 additional school districts that will benefit from state aid to implement or expand quality early childhood education programs in their communities by October 1. The addition of 28 districts means that approximately 1,450 additional children across the State will attend a quality preschool this school year.
Today’s announcement continues the campaign to deliver quality early childhood education programming to more and more schools in the state. Last school year, Governor Murphy announced funding to bring high-quality preschool programs to 64 additional school districts. This year, Governor Murphy’s Fiscal Year 2020 state budget committed an additional $20 million for Preschool Education Aid.
“New Jersey has long been considered a leader in early childhood education, and I am proud that we are now bringing about the greatest growth in preschool that this state has seen so far this century,” said Governor Murphy, who made today’s announcement in Union City, a community that has a deep history of providing quality preschool programs to 3 and 4-year-old children. “Educating our children at this critical age will give them a strong start in academics and a desire to learn.”
“The implementation of these programs means more than 1,400 additional children will benefit, each and every year, from this initiative,” said Dr. Lamont O. Repollet, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education. “Too often we focus on the numbers, but we must remember that these are real children, real lives, and real families whose lives are being improved by our efforts.”
“High-quality preschool is one of the best investments we can make to prepare young minds for academic success,” said Cary Booker, Assistant Commissioner of Early Childhood Education at DOE. “Research tells us that quality preschool programming can be a powerful indicator of success throughout out a child’s schooling, and it continues to have a positive ripple later in life.”
“Research shows that high quality early childhood programs have a lifelong impact on a child’s academic and economic achievements,” said Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz. “I am energized and excited about the continued expansion of our state’s pre-K program, as striving for universal preschool has been a cornerstone of my legislative career. This is especially personal for me, since my daughter is starting preschool today. For every dollar we invest in early childhood education we are making an investment in the future of our children and our state.”
“Studies have shown that children who are enrolled in pre-k are better prepared for grade school, and therefore are set up to have a more successful education,” said Senator Brian Stack. “The earlier we can help our children succeed in school, the better off they will be when they are older. Education opens so many doors to success. Expanding pre-k will set our children on the track to success.”
“Quality preschool programs that prepare children for kindergarten are extremely important,” said Assembly Education Committee Chairwoman Pamela Lampitt. “They create a strong educational foundation to promote future academic and social success. By expanding access to pre-k programs, we give New Jersey’s children a head start at a young age, helping them gain a love of learning and increasing their chance of success in school.”
High-quality preschool programs are identified as transitioning to a full-day program, with a certificated teacher, an aide, small class sizes, and inclusive of children with special needs who have an individualized education program.
The 28 school districts implementing or expanding to high-quality preschool programs this school year have at least 20 percent of their student population receiving free or reduced lunch or had been receiving partial state funding to address pockets of poverty.
The 28 school districts include: