$120M Available for NJ Preschool Facility Expansions

Gov. Phil Murphy today announced the availability of $120 million in grants for preschool facility expansion and highlighted the funding 16 school districts recently received to establish or grow their preschool programming. The governor also announced an additional $2.6 million to assist 33 school districts with supplementary start-up funding.

“Expanding access to free, full-day preschool programs represents an investment in the future of New Jersey’s children,” said Murphy said today at the Brooks Crossing and Deans Elementary School in South Brunswick. A quality preschool education provides students with the foundational skills they need to learn and succeed as they advance through life, which is why we must – and will – continue to work towards universal pre-K throughout New Jersey.”

Preschool Facilities Grants

The $120 million in grant funding – made possible through an allocation of federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars in the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) budget – marks the first time that preschool facility expansion grants will be available to Regular Operating Districts (RODs).

The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) will be accepting grant applications from RODs from March 1 to May 31.

Eligible proposals will be prioritized by category in the following order:

  • Proposals to increase available preschool seats by at least 10 percent, ranked by percentage of increased seats.
  • Proposals to enhance preschool facilities by increasing the capacity of existing classrooms or by constructing/rehabilitating restrooms.’
  • Proposals to expand preschool programs from half-day to full-day.
  • Proposals to expand classroom capacity to house new preschool programs and guarantee additional seats.

Preschool Expansion and Start-Up Funding

The more than $11.4 million recently allocated to 16 school districts to create or expand their preschool programming during the 2022-2023 school year has enabled the addition of 1,081 full-day, high-quality preschool seats.

The following school districts received a portion of the $11,412,493 in total funding:

  • Atlantic County – Folsom School District – $165,322
  • Bergen County – Little Ferry School District – $1,245,045
  • Burlington County – Washington Township School District – $82,260
  • Burlington County – Westampton Township School District – $456,765
  • Camden County – Gibbsboro School District – $582,793
  • Camden County – Lawnside School District – $382,840
  • Cumberland County – Downe Township School District – $445
  • Gloucester County – South Harrison Township School District – $621,414
  • Middlesex County – South Brunswick Township School District – $2,041,95
  • Middlesex County – South Plainfield School District – $1,765,380
  • Monmouth County – Allenhurst School District – $13,857
  • Morris County – Jefferson Township School District – $1,034,483
  • Ocean County – Island Heights School District – $188,636
  • Salem County – Andover Regional School District – $522,310
  • Sussex County – Elsinboro Township School District – $108,072
  • Union County – Linden City School District – $2,200,915

In addition to the $11.4 million for the second round of preschool expansion aid this school year, an additional $2.6 million in start-up funding was made available to six of the 16 school districts that had been operating partially state-funded preschool at the start of the school year (Folsom, Little Ferry, Lawnside, Downe, South Plainfield, and Linden), as well as all 27 districts from the first round of FY23 awards announced earlier this school year, which began operating their full-day programs in October.

“Early childhood development is the very foundation upon which any effective and comprehensive education system is built. Basic skills that our children are exposed to in a solid pre-school environment are essential to their learning journey,” said Senator Zwicker. “I am proud to stand with Governor Murphy today in recognizing this signature investment in pre-K funding in South Brunswick and in other districts throughout the state. Our state will only continue to be a growth leader and meet this moment of emerging technologies if we continue to invest in our public schools, and especially in the continued expansion of our pre-K education capacities.”

Since Governor Murphy took office, preschool programs have been introduced to more than 160 school districts, opening seats for more than 12,000 additional children.

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