Funding Made Available as Promised by the Governor in the 2018 State of the State.
Suffolk County, NY - Sept. 5, 2018 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $15 million in funding is available to establish pre-kindergarten programs for three or four-year-old students across New York. A preference in funding will be provided to high-need school districts that do not currently have a State funded pre-kindergarten program.
"It's critical that every child in New York has equal access to quality pre-K programs and this funding will help students in underserved districts receive the early education they need for academic success," Governor Cuomo said. "Providing children with the opportunity to begin learning from an even earlier age is one of the smartest investments we can make as a State and will help build a stronger New York for all."
"Having access to an affordable, quality education is important, especially at an early age," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "This funding will expand pre-K programs across the state, prioritizing high-need school districts, to ensure that every child is given an equal opportunity. We're committed to providing all children and families in underserved districts with an early childhood education, positioning them for future success."
Since 2011, Governor Cuomo has more than doubled the state's commitment to early childhood education to improve the academic future of young people across New York. In 2013, Governor Cuomo created the state's first full-day pre-kindergarten seats, and in 2015, New York expanded pre-kindergarten to serve three-year-olds for the first time. New York's commitment to pre-kindergarten is now over $800 million annually, serving 120,000 three and four-year-old students each year, and universal pre-kindergarten is free for families.
This additional $15 million will ensure New York continues to support its youngest students by supporting the expansion of pre-kindergarten in school districts across New York, including those where there are currently no pre-kindergarten seats. In addition, preference will be given to districts that will be ensuring the inclusion of students with disabilities in integrated settings.
The Request for Proposals is available here and applications will be accepted until October 29, 2018.
State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said, "Early childhood learning has long been a top priority for the Board of Regents and the Education Department. We envision a New York where all children thrive from birth, flourish in preschool, enter a school-age program on a trajectory of success, and are academically proficient in third grade by growing up healthy and having opportunities for high-quality early learning experiences that are culturally, linguistically and developmentally appropriate. We thank the Governor and Legislature for providing the funding that will enable so many children to get off to a good start, and we look forward to continuing to make quality educational experiences available to all our youngest learners."
Senator Carl Marcellino, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Education, said, "Research demonstrates that pre-K education has a long lasting, positive influence on our children's academic success. Investing in high-quality pre-K programs is essential to ensuring New York's youngest students have the educational tools and training they need for the future. I thank Governor Cuomo for recognizing the importance of these programs and for giving all young children the opportunity to grow and thrive here in New York."
Governor Cuomo first announced the initiative in January as part of his budget proposal and it was enacted in the FY 2019 Budget. Funding for districts will be renewed annually, provided the programs meet all program requirements and adopt quality indicators assessing environment, staff-to-student interaction and student outcomes. The State Education Department, which will administer the grant, expects to announce awards later this fall.
Early learning can bridge achievement gaps and provide benefits in the earliest stages of youth and throughout adulthood. Studies from the National Institute for Early Education Research show that children who participate in high-quality early childhood education programs have higher cognitive test scores from the toddler years to age 21, higher academic achievement in both reading and math, and are more likely to attend a four-year college and be gainfully employed.