During a visit to an elementary school in South Brunswick on Wednesday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced efforts to offer universal access to high-quality full-day preschool across the Garden State are expanding.

He said starting March 1, the Department of Education will launch a $120 million grant for preschool facility expansion. The money comes from the Federal American Rescue Plan.

Preschool childs playing in classroom.
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Other preschool funds also being handed out

The governor also announced an additional $2.6 million is being handed out to assist 33 school districts with supplementary start-up preschool funding.

He noted more than $11.4 million was recently allocated to 16 school districts to create or expand their preschool programming during the 2022-2023 school year.

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Atlantic County – Folsom School District – $165,322

Bergen County – Little Ferry School District – $1,245,045

Burlington County – Washington Township School District – $82,260

Burlington County – Westampton Township School District – $456,765

Camden County – Gibbsboro School District – $582,793

Camden County – Lawnside School District – $382,840

Cumberland County – Downe Township School District – $445

Gloucester County – South Harrison Township School District – $621,414

Middlesex County – South Brunswick Township School District – $2,041,95

Middlesex County – South Plainfield School District – $1,765,380

Monmouth County – Allenhurst School District – $13,857

Morris County – Jefferson Township School District – $1,034,483

Ocean County – Island Heights School District – $188,636

Salem County – Andover Regional School District – $522,310

Sussex County – Elsinboro Township School District – $108,072

Union County – Linden City School District – $2,200,915

Set them up for success

Murphy said high-quality early education builds a foundation for lifelong learning, setting students on a pathway to successful, fulfilling careers, and investing in pre-K is one of the best investments in the Garden State we can make.

“Increasing the general knowledge and vocabulary of a child before they enter first grade is the single highest correlation with later success," he said. “When kids are prepared for kindergarten with the skills they need to succeed they start school already comfortable in the classroom and ready to learn.”

Angelica Allen-McMillan, the acting education commissioner, said the grant program is important because “adequate preschool facilities can often be one of the obstacles that school districts face in implementing high-quality programs."

Grant applications about to begin

The DOE will be accepting grant applications from March 1 to May 31.

Eligible proposals will be prioritized by category in the following order:

⚫ Proposals to increase available preschool seats by at least 10 percent, ranked by percentage of increased seats

⚫ Proposals to enhance preschool facilities by increasing the capacity of existing classrooms or by constructing/rehabilitating restrooms’

⚫ Proposals to expand preschool programs from half-day to full-day

⚫ Proposals to expand classroom capacity to house new preschool programs and guarantee additional seats

⚫ Preschool Expansion and Start-Up Funding

Jupiterimages, ThinkStock
Jupiterimages, ThinkStock
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