These 27 NJ districts awarded state aid for full-day preschool
TRENTON – Twenty-seven school districts around New Jersey are receiving a portion of just over $26 million in state aid to establish or expand access to preschool programs starting next month.
The funding adds nearly 2,150 additional seats in preschool classrooms, increasing the state’s overall total to nearly 70,000.
Gov. Phil Murphy’s goal is to have the state eventually provide universal preschool for every 3- and 4-year-old – but that could take until 2030 and would have to be a priority shared by his successor. His term ends in January 2026, and he is constitutionally prohibited from seeking re-election in 2025.
“We know that providing children with access to preschool programs creates short- and long-term educational and economic benefits for families,” Murphy said. “When we invest in preschool education, we also invest in our youth and in the future success of the state of New Jersey for decades to come.”
The state requires the districts to be able to provide a high-quality preschool program, 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 2023 state budget includes $40 million for preschool expansion grants. The state said the remaining funds will be awarded in the future.
In addition to the expansion aid, the state is spending $950 million on preschool aid to 209 other school districts. Click here for a list of those districts.
In July, the Department of Education expanded the number of districts eligible for preschool expansion aid by including those in which at least 10% of students, rather than 20%, are from families with incomes low enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.
Fifteen of the 27 districts getting the expansion aid would not have been eligible if the 20% threshold was still in effect.
The districts receiving the preschool expansion funds are spread around 13 counties. Last year, those districts enrolled 779 half-day preschool students and 430 full-day preschoolers, compared with 4,104 kindergarteners.
Here are the recipients and the amounts they are receiving:
Linwood in Atlantic County | $360,797
Ridgefield Park in Bergen County | $235,920
Eastampton in Burlington County | $548,400
Palmyra in Burlington County | $507,270
Mount Laurel in Burlington County | $1,562,610
Voorhees in Camden County | $1,002,410
Pine Hill in Camden County | $539,469
Winslow Township in Camden County | $2,329,944
Montclair in Essex County | $970,555
Nutley in Essex County | $1,228,170
West Orange in Essex County | $1,894,659
Pitman in Gloucester County | $972,648
Deptford in Gloucester County | $2,261,099
Woodbury in Gloucester County | $521,395
Kingwood in Hunterdon County | $154,429
Milford in Hunterdon County | $168,468
Howell in Monmouth County | $2,286,405
West Long Branch in Monmouth County | $249,426
Eagleswood in Ocean County | $527,448
Manchester in Ocean County | $3,076,056
Plumsted in Ocean County | $700,648
Prospect Park in Passaic County | $1,363,323
Alloway in Salem County | $364,743
Springfield in Union County | $1,219,050
Oxford in Warren County | $349,674
Pohatcong in Warren County | $322,776
Franklin in Warren County | $363,123
Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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