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Governor Cuomo Announces $5 Million in State Funding to Support Pre-Kindergarten in 16 High-Need School Districts

First Pre-Kindergarten Programs in 11 Districts

Funding Will Allow Nearly 1,000 Children to Enroll in High-Quality Pre-K

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced $5 million has been awarded to 16 high-need school districts to increase access to quality pre-kindergarten for nearly 1,000 three and four-year-old students across New York. This funding aims to support the expansion of pre-kindergarten to high-need or underserved districts as part of the State's ongoing efforts to promote early education, and improve the academic future for all students.

"Every child deserves a fair shot at a high-quality education," Governor Cuomo said. "This funding will help level the academic playing field for children in these underserved communities, providing the opportunity to succeed, thrive and, ultimately, lead."

Funding was awarded to school districts based on the quality of the application and other factors, including district and student need, efforts to target the highest need students, and efforts to maximize total number of children served in pre-kindergarten programs.

Since 2011, Governor Cuomo has more than doubled the state's commitment to early childhood education to improve the academic future of young people across New York. In 2013, Governor Cuomo created the state's first full-day pre-kindergarten seats, and in 2015, New York expanded pre-kindergarten to serve three-year-olds for the first time. New York's commitment to pre-kindergarten is now over $800 million annually, serving 120,000 three and four-year-old students each year and universal pre-kindergarten is free for families. This additional $5 million will ensure New York continues to support its youngest students by supporting the expansion of pre-kindergarten into high-need districts, including those where there are currently no pre-kindergarten seats.

Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said, "New York is working to ensure successful educational environments for all of our youngest learners. High-quality, full-day prekindergarten programs are key in our efforts to close the achievement gap and to give all of our children the best chance to get the right start in their education and to stay on the path to success throughout their school careers."

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said, "The long-term, positive impact that investing in high-quality prekindergarten programs is undisputed. It's been shown to increase student performance in math and reading by second grade and provides the strong foundation on which a child's education is built. I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Cuomo to expand access to these important programs."

Senator Carl Marcellino, Chair, Senate Education Committee, said, "Investing in our children is investing in a strong and prosperous future for all of New York State. With this funding, we help school districts provide top-notch pre-kindergarten education to children, and I thank Governor Cuomo for his commitment to a comprehensive approach to educating New York's students."

Assemblymember Catherine Nolan, Chair, Assembly Committee on Education, said, "Thank you to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Governor Cuomo and the members of the Assembly Education Committee for this important initiative. This is a great first step in our work on expanding Pre-K so all young children statewide can get the advantages of early education."

Funding awarded by district is included below:

School District


Attica (Finger Lakes)


Ausable Valley (North Country)


Canajoharie (Mohawk Valley)


Carthage (North Country)


Elizabethtown (North Country)


Homer (Central New York)


Indian River (North Country)


Liverpool (Central New York)


McGraw (Central New York)


Onondaga (Central New York)


Peru (North Country)


Saranac (North Country)


Saugerties (Mid-Hudson)


Schenectady (Capital Region)


Weedsport (Central New York)


Windsor (Southern Tier)


Early learning can bridge achievement gaps and provide benefits in the earliest stages of youth and throughout adulthood. Studies from the National Institute for Early Education Research show that children who participate in high quality early childhood education programs have higher cognitive test scores from the toddler years to age 21, higher academic achievement in both reading and math, and are more likely to attend a four-year college and be gainfully employed.