Several local school districts and a community group were among the organizations receiving state funds for full-day pre-kindergarten on Monday.
The Gloversville Enlarged School District, the Amsterdam School District, the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District, the Fort Plain Central School District and the Kids Express Learning Center in Colonie were included in the 81 school districts and community organizations that will split $340 million.
•Gloversville Enlarged School District: $1,045,568
•Greater Amsterdam School District: $935,416
•Broadablin-Perth Central School District: $596,830
•Kids Express Learning
Center, Colonie: $539,383
•Fort Plain Central School District: $327,730
The funding, part of the 2014-15 state budget, is the first installment in the state’s plan to invest $1.5 billion over five years to establish full-day pre-kindergarten programs statewide.
“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-kindergarten,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in announcing the awards.
The Gloversville Enlarged School District will receive $1,045,568 to operate four full-day pre-kindergarten classrooms to serve a total of 72 students — 18 at each of the four elementary schools — at the start of school in September.
Gloversville is partnering with two private preschool providers in the community, who will offer additional full-day pre-kindergarten programming, according to a news release.
“Having a full-day program will allow students to be in an environment and build skills they need to be better prepared for kindergarten,” said Superintendent of Schools Michael Vanyo. “With an emphasis on literacy, students will enter kindergarten with reading skills that will increase their academic performance going forward.”
Thomas Perillo, superintendent of the Greater Amsterdam School District, says the $935,416 the district will receive will make a big difference in the school system. Perillo said that the district currently offers half-day pre-kindergarten but this will enable the district to expand.
“We are ecstatic about the decision,” he said. “Parents have been asking about full-day pre-kindergarten and now we can deliver it.”
A number of studies have shown that children who participate in high-quality early care and education programs are far more likely to read at grade level and graduate from high school. They also show that quality full-day pre-kindergarten programs increase student performance in math and reading by the second grade, as well as decreasing the rates of grade retention.