For the 2021-22 school year, the enacted state budget slated $105 million for prekindergarten funding, with a focus on low- and medium-wealth school districts for the expansion of prekindergarten, or for districts that currently do not have a program for four-year-olds.
Voorheesville was one of the districts that received aid to provide early childhood education opportunities for four-year-olds. The district does not currently have a prekindergarten program and would need a significant increase in our budget to provide a universal prekindergarten program in our school buildings. Unfortunately, this is not a recurring investment by the state, but instead, a one-off infusion of money which would make it fiscally irresponsible for the district to begin a full-fledged prekindergarten program within our schools with no guarantee of financial aid in the future.
This prekindergarten aid allows us to cover the cost of potentially 27 student enrollments at a district-approved, licensed early childhood education and/or childcare program.
We are currently drafting a Request for Proposals for the area of early childhood education providers who are interested in working collaboratively. The funds, in the form of a grant, would cover the cost of tuition for Voorheesville four-year-olds planning to enroll in one of our elementary schools in the fall of 2022.
The early childhood provider must provide an educational experience that is aligned with the New York State Early Learning Guidelines, as well as our district-approved curriculum. More details on qualifications to fund spots for our students will be outlined in the RFP.
We plan to keep the community informed as we announce district-approved providers, as soon as they are determined, as well as the process for enrolling your child. Because this aid only covers about a third of our expected Kindergarten enrollment for 2022, a lottery may be held for spots.
We are excited to be able to increase access to full-day prekindergarten for our future students. Please look for more information in the coming weeks.
Superintendent of Schools