Even in the midst of a pandemic, New Jersey’s fiscal year 2020-2021 state budget included an additional $10 million to expand state-funded preschool to additional eligible communities. This funding recognizes the critical importance of high-quality preschool as the foundation for students’ success in school and in life–and New Jersey wants more three- and four-year-olds to have this advantage. 

Although most districts are currently struggling with how best to provide equitable education to their current students in light of COVID-19, eligible districts (see link below) can still take advantage of this opportunity by applying for the funds. 

As funding is currently available, there is currently an opportunity for districts to “get their feet in the door” for preschool. It is also a way for districts to work collaboratively with their Head Start and child care programs—the places where many three- and four-year-olds are during the school day. 

School districts recently received eligibility letters from the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) and were told that if a district wants to apply for the preschool funding, they need to attend a mandatory Zoom technical assistance meeting on Oct. 29 or Oct. 30. 

By Oct. 28, districts should:  

  1. See if your district is eligible. Visit https://tinyurl.com/expandprek for the list of eligible districts. 
  2. If so, contact your superintendent and other school administrators to urge them to attend one of the NJDOE technical assistance meetings.

For further information, contact Cynthia Rice at Advocates for Children of New Jersey at crice@acnj.org.