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South Brunswick School District to receive $2 million in state funds for preschool expansion

Full-day preschool is coming to South Brunswick School District with the state awarding $2 million in funding for the district to implement the program.

Superintendent Scott Feder announced that the district is receiving state funding to run a full-day preschool program in a letter to the school community in November.

The announcement comes after school officials pushed the state to reconsider aid after the South Brunswick School District found out in September, they were not one of the 27 school districts Gov. Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) named as recipients of the first portion of the $40 million – over $26 million – in grant awards allocated in the fiscal budget for 2023 for preschool expansion.

“At that time, we were turned down for this state funded program but continued to persevere and appeal the decision. A few days ago, we received the great news that we are now being awarded the funds for a 2023 opening,” Feder wrote in his letter.

The superintendent said that “although the receiving of $2 million in aid for the full-day preschool program is amazing news, a lot of work is still needed in the foundational development of the program.”

“As we build on the program, it is our hope that in a few years all of our three- and four-year-old children will have full access to full-day preschool for free,” Feder said in the letter.

“Please know that we will provide the community with regular updates on the progress of the program. In the days and weeks ahead, we will be sending out more information on enrollment and how all of this will work.”

Gov. Phil Murphy and the NJDOE’s announcement that 27 school districts would receive the first portion of awarded grant funds ensured that nearly 2,150 additional three- and four-year-old children would have access to a preschool classroom by increasing New Jersey’s preschool seats to nearly 70,000, according to the governor’s office.

The funding also allowed districts to expand already existing preschool programs or establish new preschool programs. The 27 districts awarded funding began full-day preschool programs in early October.

School districts that received the first portion of funding included Howell Township’s school district ($2.29 million), West Long Branch School District ($249,426), and Springfield school district ($1.21 million).

The remaining fiscal year 2023 funding will be awarded at a later date, according to the governor’s office.

The NJDOE had invited school districts to apply for a share of $40 million in state funding in the summer.

In July, the NJDOE had broadened the number of districts that could apply for preschool expansion aid funding from those with 20% of students coming from lower-income families (defined by being eligible for free or reduced priced lunch) to districts with 10% of students who meet the income eligibility standards, according to the governor’s office.

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