New York state awards $340 million in Universal Pre-K funds

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Eighty-one school districts in New York state will receive $340 million in state funds to pay for full-day Pre-Kindergarten, an announcement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office stated.

A large part of the funding, more than $294 million, will go to the New York City Education Department under the plan.

In the greater Rochester area, the Fairport Central School district will receive $360,000, and the Gates-Chili Central School District will receive $900,000, according to reports. In addition, Generations Child Care will receive $175,000.

“Training and educating young minds is one of the smartest investments we can make as a state, as studies demonstrate that pre-kindergarten has a long lasting, positive influence on our children’s education and future success,” Cuomo stated. “The state budget this year included a major investment in early education, putting New York state on the path to become just the fourth state in the nation to establish universal full day pre-K. The awards we are announcing today will enable tens of thousands of children to attend pre-K classes, and represent another step in the state’s work to prepare our students to compete in the 21st century economy.”

The funding, included in the 2014-15 State Budget, will be the first installment of $1.5 billion that will be paid out to the program over five years, according to the announcement.

Cuomo came up with the deal after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed to tax the city’s wealthiest residents in an effort to expand the Universal Pre-K Program.

Mayor de Blasio released the following statement regarding the matter:

“We are proud to have Gov. Cuomo as a strong partner in making Pre-K for All a reality for the children of New York City. This funding represents a powerful commitment by the state to build a new, stronger education foundation that will transform our schools. We are working tirelessly to make good on this opportunity to deliver new pre-K options, improve existing ones and build a high-quality system that lifts up every child.”

To view the full list of award recipients, visit http://www.p12.nysed.gov/funding/2014-15-statewide-universal-full-day-prekindergarten/nysupk-2014-15-awardee-list.html