Federal Grants Support Pre-K Programs in New York City, Long Island, Hudson Valley and the North Country Over 2,300 Full-Day Pre-K Slots Created in High-Need Districts Since 2014
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced today that $25 million in funding has been awarded to support pre-k programs in New York City, Yonkers, Port Chester, Watertown and Uniondale. The grant, administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, expands access to high-quality preschool for children from low- to moderate-income families and helps communities prepare the most vulnerable children for success in school. The $25 million represents year three of this grant and will be renewed to expand access to new high-quality preschool classrooms, or improved classrooms in high-need communities throughout the state.
“This funding represents another step forward in our mission to provide every child with high-quality education opportunities early in their lives,” Governor Cuomo said. “By expanding pre-k access for children across the state, we are ensuring that our youngest New Yorkers get ahead, and putting them on a path toward future success.”
New York State was first awarded $25 million in federal funding in December, 2014 to create full-day pre-kindergarten slots for children in high-need communities. That grant helped create a total of 2,385 full-day slots in New York City, Yonkers, Port-Chester, Rye, Uniondale and Watertown, and supported the first pre-kindergarten programs in Uniondale and Port-Chester Rye. To ensure quality in the new slots, districts that received funding were required participate in Quality Stars NY, the state’s monitoring and improvement system.
The state applied for a total of $100 million over four years, and further allocations up to that $100 million are subject to the state’s progress in achieving its benchmarks in these districts and the availability of funds. New York’s award this year was renewed for $25 million to continue its progress in expanding access to quality pre-kindergarten education. New York was recognized by the federal government for creating more slots than the original goal the state set for in the grant application.
Final district-level allocations for the third year of the program as follows: $7.6 million for New York City, $7.3 million for Yonkers, $3.2 million for Port Chester, $2.5 million for Watertown, and $3.2 million for Uniondale. New York will also receive funding to invest in State-level infrastructure.
This funding is made available through the U.S. Department of Education’s Preschool Development Grant program. A total of 35 states and Puerto Rico submitted applications to the program this year, but New York is one of only 18 to receive funding.
New York State has more than doubled the State’s commitment to pre-kindergarten from $385 million to $810 million on a State level, serving over 120,000 students. Studies show that children who participate in high-quality early care and education programs are far more likely to read at grade level and graduate from high school and that quality full-day pre-kindergarten programs in particular are credited with producing significant increases in student performance in math and reading for participating students by the second grade as well as decreasing the rates of grade retention.
Congressman Eliot Engel said, “Early childhood education is one of the keys to ensuring a child’s long-term academic success. New York has been a national leader in expanding pre-k for working families. As a former school teacher, I know just how important it is to have elected officials at every level working together to support those bright young minds. I applaud Governor Cuomo for working so closely with the Congressional Delegation to fund quality pre-k programming in Yonkers and in New York City.”
Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey said, “It’s never too early to get ahead, and that’s why pre-kindergarten programs are so vital for students’ long term success. I’ve fought hard to increase our investments in pre-k, and I’m thrilled that Port Chester will use this money to create more full-time pre-k slots. With the new Administration and Congress next year, I will fight to protect pre-k and other investments in early education that help students realize their highest potential.”
Congressman José E. Serrano said, “Few things are as important to a children’s healthy development and success later in life as a quality early education. These federal grants will help ensure working families in New York City have access to quality pre-k programs regardless of their income or where they live. New York was one of only a few states selected to receive this important funding, which shows our state’s focus on creating educational opportunities for children of all ages.”
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik said, “A quality education is the most important gift we can give to our next generation. These important grants will be prioritized to low and moderate income students, helping the most high need North Country families get a critical start. As a Member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, I will continue to work in Congress to give our students a top flight education.”