Funding approved to implement free pre-K in Sayreville

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SAYREVILLE – More than $2.7 million in funding from the state has been accepted by the Sayreville School District Board of Education to help provide for a free, full-day pre-Kindergarten program for all pupils in the district.

On Sept. 17, the board approved acceptance of the $2.8 million from the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE)’s Preschool Education Expansion Grant. The grant will be utilized from Oct. 1 through June 30, 2020, according to district administrators.

According to information provided by administrators, the district operated pre-Kindergarten programming under the Project Before name, with full- and half-day classes at Samsel Upper Elementary School (SUES) and half-day classes at Jesse Selover School prior to receiving the grant.

With the acceptance of the grant, all three- and four-year-old children residing in Sayreville will be able to attend full-day pre-Kindergarten.

For the current 2019-20 school year, district administrators intend to convert existing half-day classes at Selover to full-day classes and lower enrollment to 15 pupils per class, open four new classrooms at Acelero Learning for 60 Head Start (low-income family) pupils, open one new classroom at Acelero Learning for 15 new pre-Kindergarten pupils, and open one new classroom at Garden Friends.

The target date for each opening is Oct. 16, according to administrators.

Officials stated that the program at Selover will be called Project Before at Selover, the program for the Head Start pupils at Acelero Learning will be called Project Before at Acelero/Head Start, the program for the non-Head Start pupils at Acelero Learning will be called Project Before at Acelero/Private, the program at Garden Friends will be called Project Before at Garden, and the program at SUES will be called Project Before at SUES.

New seats will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis using the district’s online registration system, according to administrators. Free busing will be provided to all pupils who live more than 0.7 miles from the school they attend, with the district intending to fully implement the busing by Oct. 28.

For the 2020-21 school year, administrators intend to convert the existing half-day Kindergarten classes at SUES and lower enrollment to 15 pupils per class, with a target date of Sept. 4, 2020. District administrators also plan on adding up to 15 additional classes throughout the entire pre-Kindergarten program to increase the district’s capacity to be able to educate up to 225 pupils.

According to district administrators, a lottery system will be used if demand exceeds the available amount of seats.

Further information about the full-day program can be found at sayrevillek12.net/departments/preschool_education_aid.