Gov. Phil Murphy is announcing the first round of expanded funding for preschool programs in New Jersey.
Murphy said the $20.6 million for 31 school districts will increase or enhance preschool programs for more than 2,000 3-and-4-year-olds in the Garden State.
“In some cases, improving or expanding means going from part-day to full-day or providing more services. In other cases, you’re going from not having it at all to a reality,” he said.
The governor said high-quality pre-K programs provide kids with the support and skills they need to reach their greatest potential.
The funding was included in the state budget and is distributed based on the number of low-income students in a school district.
Carteret is one of the districts getting the money. Katie Santoro, who teaches 3-and-4-year-olds there, said the state aid will make a difference.
“Becoming a full day program gives us the opportunity to provide children a safe space where they are educated with the most up to date curriculum and developmentally appropriate practices to ensure that they not only have a strong academic foundation, but they have the social and emotional skills to become successful citizens,” said Santoro.
The Department of Education is taking applications for the second round of expanded preschool aid. That $26.7 million will benefit an additional two thousand children.
Because of previous New Jersey Supreme Court rulings, more than 30 poor, mostly urban districts have been offering state-funded pre-K since the early 2000s. That includes Camden, Trenton, Burlington City, and Vineland, among others.
Districts that were recently awarded this new round of PEEA funding include:
- Hamilton Township
- Galloway Township
- Willingboro Township
- Mount Holly
Cape May County
- North Wildwood City
- Lower Township
- Lawrence Township
- Maurice River Township
- South Orange/Maplewood
- Logan Township
- Piscataway Township
- Union Beach
- Morris School District
- Berkeley Township
- Stafford Township
- Pittsgrove Township
- Franklin Township
- Hillside Township
- Rahway City