UNION CITY – Continuing the largest expansion in high-quality preschool that New Jersey has seen in decades, Gov. Phil Murphy Sept. 3 announced 28 additional school districts that will benefit from state aid to implement or expand quality early childhood education programs in their communities by Oct. 1.
Dennis and Middle townships were the only districts in Cape May County to benefit from the funding. Dennis will receive $622,250 and Middle will get $687,686.
According to a release, the addition of 28 districts means that approximately 1,450 additional children across the State will attend a quality preschool this school year.
The announcement continues the campaign to deliver quality early childhood education programming to more and more schools in the state.
Last school year, Murphy announced funding to bring high-quality preschool programs to 64 additional school districts.
This year, Murphy’s Fiscal Year 2020 state budget committed an additional $20 million for Preschool Education Aid.
“New Jersey has long been considered a leader in early childhood education, and I am proud that we are now bringing about the greatest growth in preschool that this state has seen so far this century,” stated Murphy. “Educating our children at this critical age will give them a strong start in academics and a desire to learn.”
“The implementation of these programs means more than 1,400 additional children will benefit, each and every year, from this initiative,” stated Dr. Lamont O. Repollet, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education. “Too often we focus on the numbers, but we must remember that these are real children, real lives, and real families whose lives are being improved by our efforts.”
“High-quality preschool is one of the best investments we can make to prepare young minds for academic success,” stated Cary Booker, assistant commissioner of Early Childhood Education at DOE. “Research tells us that quality preschool programming can be a powerful indicator of success throughout a child’s schooling, and it continues to have a positive ripple later in life.”
“Research shows that high-quality early childhood programs have a lifelong impact on a child’s academic and economic achievements,” stated Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz.
The 28 school districts implementing or expanding to high-quality preschool programs this school year have at least 20 percent of their student population receiving free or reduced lunch or had been receiving partial state funding to address pockets of poverty.