Grant will pay for full-day Pre-K in Dundee school

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

Dundee Central School was among the few schools in the upstate region to receive a Universal Pre-K grant in the amount of $185,307 when the awards were announced Monday.

“Dundee Central School is elated to have been awarded the Universal Full Day Pre-Kindergarten Grant. Moving to a full day program will allow us to extend academic opportunities to our youngest students that could not be accomplished in a half day setting. The District will be meeting with the Dundee Children’s Center this week to begin the transition to full day,” says Superintendent Kelly Houck.

Houck says 29 students will participate in classes this year. One class will be held at the Dundee Children’s Center on Main Street, and one will be held in the Dundee Central School building.

Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the recipients of $340 million in full-day pre-kindergarten funding for 81 school districts and Community Based Organizations statewide, opening full-day classroom slots to nearly 37,000 children. Of that figure, $300 million will be going to New York City schools, with $40 million for the rest of the state. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said,”We are proud to have Governor Cuomo as a strong partner in making Pre-K for All a reality for the children of New York City.”

The funding, included in the 2014-15 State Budget, is the first installment as part of the state’s commitment to invest $1.5 billion over five years to build a statewide Universal Full-Day Pre-Kindergarten program. The state’s full-day pre-kindergarten program is designed to incentivize innovation and encourage creativity through competition, according to the announcement released by the Executive Office.

Cuomo said. “The State Budget this year included a major investment in early education, putting New York State on the path to become just the fourth state in the nation to establish universal full day pre-K.”

Cuomo says studies show children who participate in high-quality early care and education programs are far more likely to read at grade level and graduate from high school. Full-day pre-kindergarten programs in particular are credited with producing significant increases in student performance in math and reading by second grade and decreases rates of grade retention.

This program will result in new full-day pre-kindergarten placements and convert existing half-day placements to full-day placements that meet new program requirements. All grantees will be required to demonstrate quality program standards.

According to information provided by Cuomo’s office, this program represents the largest expansion of Full-Day Pre-Kindergarten in New York State history, adding to the existing $385 million in UPK funding and the $25 million Full-Day Pre-Kindergarten program enacted by Cuomo in 2013-14.