Preschool expansion is long overdue
It is nearly five years since the state Legislature passed a school funding law that mandated preschool for children across New Jersey. In those five years, just four districts have received this expansion aid, meaning that high-quality, full-day preschool is only funded in 35 New Jersey districts.
Children should not be denied preschool simply because of where they live. We know that this quality early learning helps children arrive at kindergarten ready to learn, improving their chances for school success.
While Governor Christie’s state budget includes a $14.4 million increase in preschool aid, this is being provided only to districts that currently have full-day preschools. Once again, no funds are earmarked for the expansion mandated in the 2008 school funding law.
It’s time to make good on the promise of preschool.
Throughout the budget season, ACNJ will be urging the Legislature and the Governor to make a $10 million down payment on preschool expansion. This would fund full-day, high-quality preschool for as many as 1,500 additional children. And here is a shocking fact – $10 million equals a mere 1 percent of the money the state spends on its prison system. Just imagine if we invested that much in our young learners.
We hope you will join us in sending messages to our elected officials on behalf of New Jersey’s preschoolers. Stay tuned for more info!