Funding Made Available as Promised by the Governor in the 2019 State of the State
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.
"Every child deserves a quality education beginning at the earliest stages, and this critical funding will help ensure students in the most vulnerable communities have access to the programs they need to succeed," Governor Cuomo said. "By making these smart investments in our students, we are investing in our state's future and helping to build a stronger New York for all."
"Having access to an affordable, high-quality education is important, especially at an early age," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This funding for pre-K programs across the State will provide access to high-need school districts and ensure that every child is given an equal opportunity. We're committed to providing all children and families with an early childhood education to position 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 first state-funded 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 more than 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 and programs are asked to maximize community based partnerships.
The Request for Proposals is available here and applications will be accepted until September 18, 2019.
Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said, "Early education benefits all children, all families, and society as a whole. Through equity and inclusion in prekindergarten classrooms, we are working toward achieving the goal of giving all New York's children the tools and opportunities for lifelong academic and social emotional success."
State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said, "Early childhood programs, Pre-K in particular, support student outcomes in later grades, by giving our youngest learners a great start. These programs are making a difference for so many children, and these grants open doors for many more. New York leads the way and is committed to ensuring that all students are valued, respected, and successful by ensuring equity in our classrooms."
Senator Shelley Mayer, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Education, said, "I am thrilled our adopted budget provided much needed support for pre-kindergarten programs for three and four-year-old children, particularly in our high-need school districts. There is overwhelming evidence that early childhood education is one of the wisest and long-lasting investments we can and should make. High quality early childhood education provides children the social-emotional experiences they need and deserve to thrive throughout their lives. I thank Governor Cuomo for his ongoing commitment to our children and recognizing the importance of foundational early childhood education."
Governor Cuomo first announced the initiative in January as part of his budget proposal and it was enacted in the FY 2020 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.