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Universal Pre-K? It depends.

Universal Pre-K? It depends.
Posted Tuesday, April 1st 2014 @ 6pm  by Bud Lowell

The newly-approved New York State budget includes funding for Universal Pre-Kindergarten education, but that doesn't mean your particular school district will offer it. 

Of the $340 million in Pre-K aid, $300 million goes to New York City and $40 million goes to the rest of the state. That's one thing. For another, there's no mandate that says school districts have to offer Pre-K.

Jody Siegle, Executive Director of the Monroe County School Boards Association, says not all of Monroe County's districts offer full-day kindergarten yet. Nine out of 18 already offer Pre-K. Funds are allocated to those districts in the new budget.

Other districts that might want to start Pre-K face a couple of issues. The State Education Department is working up an applications process, but Siegle says it wasn't ready as of last week. Siegle says school districts also have to think about what happens five years from now, when this first allocation of state money runs out. School districts could find themselves stuck with a program that parents have come to expect and no way to pay for it without raising taxes.







Nine of Monroe County's 18 school districts offer Pre-K. They've been allocated funding in the budget.






Siegle says the State Education Department has to work out a proceedure for districts that want to start Pre-Kindergarten programs to apply for funding. She says school boards also have to consider whether the extra state funding is going to be there five or 10 years in the future.


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