Twenty-seven New Jersey school districts will receive Preschool Expansion Aid (PEA) to establish or expand access to high-quality preschool programs in the 2022-2023 school year, Gov. Phil Murphy announced today. The more than $26 million, which was allocated in the FY2023 state budget, ensures that nearly 2,150 additional three- and four-year-old children will have access to a preschool classroom by increasing New Jersey’s preschool seats to nearly 70,000, according to Murphy.
“We know that providing children with access to preschool programs creates short- and long-term educational and economic benefits for families,” said Murphy. “When we invest in preschool education, we also invest in our youth and in the future success of the state for decades to come. Today’s announcement is another step toward universal preschool and a brighter future for New Jersey’s youngest learners.”
“I am excited to work with the 27 school districts receiving this funding to create and expand their community’s preschool programs,” said Dr. Angelica Allen McMillan, acting commissioner of the Department of Education. “Gov. Murphy’s continued budget allowance for high-quality preschool allows many young children an opportunity to attend preschool and reap the benefits of starting school earlier.”
In July 2022, the NJDOE broadened the number of districts that could apply for PEA funding from those with 20% of students coming from lower-income families (defined by being eligible for free or reduced priced lunch) to districts with 10% of students who meet the income eligibility standards.
Schools receiving today’s grant award demonstrated to DOE that they can provide a high-quality preschool program to enrolled students. A high-quality preschool program is defined by a full-day program with a certificated teacher, an aide, and small classes that are inclusive of children with special needs who have an individualized education program.
The FY2023 Budget appropriated $40 million to support grant awards to districts expanding existing preschool programs or districts creating new preschool programs. The remaining FY2023 PEA funding will be awarded at a later date.
Districts receiving today’s funding will begin their programs in early October 2022. The following is a list of the 27 school districts receiving PEA funding for preschool programs:
|Monmouth||West Long Branch||$249,426|